The American Legion of Indio is holding a fundraiser on Sunday to benefit the family of a 5-year-old boy who succumbed to brain cancer.
Carlitos Hernandez had an inoperable brain tumor called a pontine glioma, which has no cure.
Those close to 5-year-old Carlitos Hernandez say he always had a smile on his face.
“You’d see his pictures and he’d be laughing and joking,” said Luis Bernal, the Legion member who organized the fundraiser.
Underneath that smile, he was fighting for his life. Carlitos battled terminal brain cancer for just over a year before sadly passing away in December. His mom Elizabeth shared her memories of him.
“He was always happy, he liked to play around, he loved his animals, his dog, his bird, and right now it’s the most difficult time for me to deal with all of this without him now,” Elizabeth Hernandez told us through a translator.
The community is rallying around the Hernandez family to raise money for his funeral and any final expenses.
“We’re just family, that’s all I can say, and you’re always there for your family,” said Bernal's wife Christine Gonzales, who was Carlitos' teacher.
“We’re in a bad situation, yes, with this pandemic, but there’s other people that need help, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to help anybody, and this is one important cause,” Bernal said.
The American Legion Post 739 of Indio is hosting a drive thru pick-up lunch on Sunday in its parking lot from Noon to 5 p.m., first come first serve. Mario’s Cafe of Coachella is donating the meals.
“One thing I’ve learned is that community is everything. If it wasn’t for the community we wouldn’t have businesses like mine - family-owned, productive and succeeding. So, when opportunity arises for us to do something or give back a little, if it’s within our means, I’m all for it,” said Roger Solorzano, the owner of Mario’s Italian Cafe in Coachella.
Attendees are asked to donate at least 10 dollars to the cause in exchange for a meal. All proceeds will go directly to the Hernandez family.
“I miss you my Carlitos and everybody please come out and help us," said Gonzales. "I want the community to be able to say we care about little Carlitos.”
Event Information: Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. at American Legion Post 739 Address: 44-200 Sun Gold St., Indio