Rancho Mirage High School football player Israel “Izzy” Ramirez is finally home after his fifth brain surgery.
He says he didn’t expect to be home so soon after after another setback following a ruptured brain AVM, “No, I did not, I feel great, feel great to be back home, feel great to be back around my family, just great to be home.”
His sister Angelina Vasquez has been his biggest cheerleader.
While she does see his survival as a miracle she also says says this time has tested her faith.
“I found myself doubting god again on Sunday because I couldn’t understand how a 17-year-old would have to be faced with a fifth surgery and all my brother wants to do is play football,” Vasquez says through tears.
The family is now facing a mountain of medical bills. They don’t talk about it around Izzy, but he knows.
“I do worry sometimes, I do worry,” says Izzy, and when asked why he quickly answers, “because sometimes the bills are really high and sometimes it’s a lot for my family to pay for.”
They hoped a GoFundMe account could help. His sister says the community stepped up to the tune of about $1,600, but suddenly the money was refunded to the donors. She says after some back and forth with GoFundMe, the company said it was an error and the account works now.
But the money is permanently gone.
“It wasn’t just a mistake it took from my brother, it took from my mom, we had already had our heart set on that money, so for them to just take it because they simply say it’s a mistake, it’s not a mistake it hurt us as a whole and I will never trust them again,” says Vasquez.
They are now doing community fundraisers and have set up a Venmo account under @IzzyStrong30.
Vasquez breaks down in tears when she thinks about the love and support the community has shown her family, “Coachella Valley they’re a blessing, they’re a huge blessing.”
And Izzy says he’s grateful too and looking forward to celebrating Christmas and what really matters, “It just means a lot to me now, I just hope to have a lot of love and cheer going around my family.”
We reached out to GoFundMe several times and have not heard back.
To help the family with medical bills:
Venmo Acct: @IzzyStrong30
Angelina Vasquez last four digits of phone number if prompted: 2773
Kings Club Barbershop on December 29, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to closing.
Address: 35325 Date Palm Dr Suite #113, Cathedral City, CA 92234