Diana Castro is trying to keep her family healthy, housed and educated.
Castro, 50, is working three jobs, while husband Marsello, who is in poor health, is living in Dallas with family members who can take care of him. Everyone in the Castro family is deaf.
Daughter Alyssa, 24, takes care of the home while her mother is working three jobs. Son Noah, 20, attends Gallaudet University, a school in Washington, D.C., for the deaf and hard of hearing. Daughter Anissa, 11, attends Texas School for the Deaf.
Then there’s 9-year-old son Marc, who has had leukemia for the last 17 months. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Two years of treatments cost about $103,000, and Diana already owes $43,000 to the Children's Blood and Cancer Center at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. The hospital has provided some support through grants and such, but the family needs so much more to stay afloat. Diana Castro is $4,000 behind on the electric bill and struggling to keep up with her oldest son's payment arrangements and living expenses in college.
With Marsello in Dallas and unable to work, Diana is under a huge financial strain.
“Her rent just went up,” says Katie Lewin, a case worker with Any Baby Can. ”It’s $1,696 a month now. I’m not sure how she is getting by having to pay rent, make utility payments and the medication for Marc that she isn’t able to get.”
The family moved here 11 years ago from Dallas so the kids could attend the Texas School for the Deaf. They live in a nice two-story home in Onion Creek, but the inside of the house, while tidy, is in real need of furnishing.
“It’s really difficult,” Diana says through an interpreter. “I wish that I owned the house, but we rent it. I have to do what I can to make sure my family has a warm home that meets their needs and make sure they’re OK.”
Diana works at the post office, FedEx and an overnight shift at Texas School for the Deaf, where she assists with student life. Because she spends so many hours away from the home, Alyssa Castro is the second mom.
“She is very reserved,” Diana Castro says, "but she’s extremely helpful. She helps Anissa do homework and also helps administer medicine to Marc.”
On Marc: “He’s a mama’s boy. He’s always asking me to quit my jobs. I tell him, ‘Marc, we need the money to live.’”
On Anissa: “She is really athletic. I work three jobs; she plays three sports." Anissa plays flag football and soccer and runs cross-country.
On Noah: “He’s very sociable. He wants to be a history teacher. He’s always thinking of the family.”
Diana Castro is a strong mother and hard worker, but she is need of help.
“I love my family,” she says. “I just want my kids to be happy.”
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