Everardo’s Story

Published on April 3, 2024

When Alejandrina gave birth to her son, Everardo, on July 18, 2018, she had no idea what the next six years would look like for her family. From the moment he was born, Everardo was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy – a rare hereditary genetic condition in which muscles throughout the body are weakened because nerve cells in the spinal cord and brainstem do not work properly. SMA is the number one genetic cause of infant mortality, and when Everardo was born, the doctors told his parents he’d have less than two years to live.

At birth, Everardo was transferred from a hospital in Mexico, where the family lived, to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. UCSF was administering the first treatment for SMA that was really improving the quality of life for infants born with the disease, and Everardo was entered into the clinical trial. Alejandrina and her husband Jesus took up permanent residence in his hospital room – until Jesus learned about Family House. At first, Alejandrina was hesitant to leave her son’s side, but when Jesus told her that she’d have a bed to sleep in and food to eat only a couple blocks from the hospital, she agreed.

“Family House has been a blessing for our family during this time. The first night I stayed here in 2018, I took a shower and had a warm bed to sleep in, and I felt like the richest woman alive.”

Everardo is six years old now and isn’t giving up anytime soon. The Cortes Avila family has been staying at Family House off and on, for six to seven months at a time since Everardo’s birth, while he receives treatment at UCSF. In the next couple of months, he’s going into an intensive back surgery procedure, and he’ll need to get the same surgery every three months for a year after that. But with the love and support of his parents and his older sister Monica, anything is possible for him.

“Everardo woke up happy today. He loves music, loves to dance. The support that Family House provides feels like a home. When we came, we had nothing; no clothes, no food, nowhere to stay. Family House has given us everything and more.”

Family House San Francisco is an independent non-profit organization led by a professional staff and board of directors dedicated to providing residential services free of charge to qualifying families. We rely solely on the generous contributions of individuals, corporations, and foundations.

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