On a Mission for an Angel
Story and photos by Ricky Jimenez Carrasco
The little boy in these photos has had a heart condition since before he was born. He wasn’t supposed to have lived for all his 7 years. He has had many complications from his condition, and come back from it all. He is listed as day-to-day. But, none of that is important. What is important is that he is a fighter, and he has his own will. This Sunday, when he was being granted wishes by “Reach for a Star” and the Mission Riders M/C, the weather turned ugly. 60 mph winds, dusty conditions, low visibility. I asked Angel’s mom if she had any apprehensions about letting him ride in this weather. “I allowed him to ride because HE wanted to. I’ll let him live his life however he wants to.”
Gil, president of the Mission Riders, tells me how he met with Debra Ruz, president of “Reach for a Star” at another biker event. “Debra approached me to tell me that she had a little boy that needed a wish granted urgently. We immediately got to work.” I asked him what affected Gil about Angel and his situation. “My sons are my life. When I see a little one like Angel, it breaks my heart that he may not be able to be like them.” Gil was impressed by Angel because of his lack of fear the first time they met. “He just ran out to meet us and started to climb on my bike! Today, we were worried (because of blowing dust), but he jumped on the bike, adjusted his helmet, bandana, and oxygen line and said ‘I’m riding’ like a real biker.”
Angel’s mom was very appreciative of all the attention being showered on her little miracle. She tells me the roller coaster ride that has been his life. Surprisingly, she is in complete control of the situation and herself. Many parents would be beside themselves if their child simply had a scraped knee, much less a critical illness. She’s a fighter, alongside her son. “Many of his organs are failing. He doesn’t want dialysis and he hates IVs. He is non-responsive to normal medication. In fact, the only thing he’s really taking is pain medication.” I asked her what she thought of all the bikers coming out to support her, “It’s wonderful. I’d like to thank all the bikers who came out in all this wind, Hospice of El Paso, and Reach for a Star for everything they’ve done today.”
As Renee’, a social worker with Hospice of El Paso assigned to Angel, says it “Moms are THE strongest people you’ll ever meet.” Renee’ has only known Angel for about 6 weeks, “but I know him like you’re seeing him, a happy little boy. He knows he’s sick, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing what he wants to do.” It didn’t stop him today. Angel looked wide eyed at all the cameras pointed his way and he never flinched, never took cover behind family. If a bunch of big, bad bikers or huge masked men came your way, most adults would at least stop. Angel took pictures with every biker and wrestler there, accepted their gifts and handshakes graciously.
Angel had several wishes for the day. The first was to ride on a real bike. Angel’s family met up with the Mission Riders and a group of other clubs who came out to support them, including Chamucos MC, Seed of Abraham MC, Centauros MC and the Red Dragons. They rode along North Loop (that at the time had about a 1/4 mile visibility) to the Mission Riders clubhouse. Angel was inundated with gifts by various organizations and businesses who responded to Debra’s pleas for help from the community. Debra, who has been with the all-volunteer organization for 20 years, simply wanted to state her gratitude to everyone: “Our kids thank you!” She also stated that this was the fastest a wish has been granted, only 2 weeks from meeting Gil to fulfilling the wish.
The last wish was granted at Wild Wild West where he got to attend a local wrestling event and got to meet his favorite wrestler, Sin Cara. When Sin Cara came out, little Angel smiled from ear to ear. He hugged him tight and didn’t want to let go. The wrestler also presented him with an Xbox 360, donated by DKD realty. When I contacted the family the next day, I was told that Angel still hadn’t come down off his cloud.
As for Gil, he summed up the day by stating, “Whatever happens, Angel, you know all these big ugly bikers will always be there to help.”