Family Fights To Save Home, Protect Daughters' Future - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/6/05-New Summerfield

Family Fights To Save Home, Protect Daughters' Future

The East Texas family with a 5-month old recovering from a liver transplant, is now fighting a new battle. It's a battle to keep their home and provide a future for baby Gracey and her 3-year-old sister. Less than one month ago, Gracey received a new liver. Doctors said it is rare for babies of Gracey's size and age to receive organs from other babies. For months the family fought to save her life.
Now, it's a grandmother's love trying to protect her future.
Mary Ebanez and Sheila Steele said they want what's best for their children and grandchildren.
"I didn't know how else to do it," Mary said, "I just thought about setting up a jar at different places to get some help for the little baby."
At some East Texas businesses, you'll notice a jar. It has Gracey's picture and a message asking for your help. It's the work of Mary.
"We did help them, we did all we could but I thought it wasn't enough," she said, "because they needed more and more and I didn't have any more money."
Mary's son Raymond and her daughter-in-law Erika stopped working to care for Gracey. When her condition was at its worst, she needed constant care. Extra help at home was needed for 3-year old sister Alyssa.
"I guess us two grandmothers, our worry right now is just money for the kids living expense," Sheila said.
The electricity and water were cut off at the family's East Texas home. Their car isn't working and they rely on family for transportation. Gracey's medical bills were covered by Medicaid and there is temporary housing provided by the hospital in Dallas.
However, the Reyes could have no place to call home when they return to East Texas.
"It's really hard with neither one of them working," Sheila said. "Light bills and grocery bills and gas bills and phone bills they don't quit coming in."
East Texans are answering the call for help. The jars in New Summerfield and Lupe's Mexican Restaurant in Jacksonsville jingle with a little extra change and caring.
"We're very grateful to anybody that put a nickel in the jar," Sheila said.
"There's been so many people I want to thank that's just donated just in those little jars," said Erika Reyes.
The Reyes will stay in Dallas until Gracey is well enough to come home to Tyler. Until then, two grandmothers waiting in East Texas say they will do all they can to make sure she has a home when she comes back.
In addition to the jars around New Summerfield and Jacksonville, there are other ways to help. A fund has been set up at Hibernia Bank in Jacksonville in the Reyes' family name.

Maya Golden reporting,

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