ZILLAH The 10 months since the end of last May have been agony for Hector and Kristi Jimenez and their 2 year old son Jesiah, who is afflicted with cancer.
They got a big break and a tear-jerking surprise Saturday, April 7, when they moved back into their home on Sunset Way.
The Jimenezes were the happy recipients of a mini home makeover when they walked in the door. Their families, friends and church members remodeled the floors, painted the interior and refurnished the house. It took Kristi about 10 minutes to stop crying.
“I was so overwhelmed,” she said.
The Jimenezes, both of whom were employed at the time, noticed Jesiah was unusually ill nearing the end of May. On June 16 they took him to emergency at Regional Hospital in Yakima.
On June 17, Kristi and Jesiah were airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Seattle. They were there to plan and start his treatments.
The Jimenezes’ world was shattered. Knowing they were going to need a lot of money and they were going to live in Seattle for up to a year, they sold 90 percent of their belongings, with the help of family and friends.
“Korena Scott of Scott Fuel Yard,” organized a yard sale,” Kristi said.
Then things started to go in favor of the two former Sunnysiders. Family and friends there and around the Valley started a donation campaign.
Things were on the rise, and then there was a psychological blow in October when a Sunnyside child named Sergio Ruiz, also 2 and also receiving treatments at Children’s, died.
The broken-hearted and stunned Jimenezes gave Sergio’s parents, whom they had not known before, $500 from the donations they were receiving to help with the funeral.
“We came to know each other as family,” Kristi said.
When Sergio’s parents learned the Jimenezes were returning home, they gave the Jimenezes $500 to help refurnish the house.
The Jimenezes were excited about coming home even though there was a lot of work to do to make it live-able. They had no idea charitable forces were at work.
Nettie Dionne, who opened Karlee’s Coffee on the Yakama Nation Reservation as a business and a source of funds for cancer families, took charge. She organized family friends and church members into a mini makeover team.
“There is so much crime in the Valley,” Dionne said. “I wanted to do this to show that not only bad things happen; good things happen too.”
Using donated materials and some bought with donated funds, the crew went to work hard and fast. They didn’t have a lot of time.
The makeover crew re-floored the house with hardwood. They repaired and painted where needed and brought in new furnishings. April 7 they waited for the Jimenezes with welcoming signs in the front yard.
Kristi started to cry immediately when she walked in the front door. She shrieked and cried again when she saw her bedroom.
Hector, a construction supervisor for Belfor Restoration, was able to work in Seattle. He will continue to work in the Valley.
Kristi will not work. Jesiah is not yet out of the woods. The Jimenezes will give him daily chemotherapy treatments for the next two and a half years.
“They gave us instructions on how to give it to him,” Kristi said.
Once of month, the Jimenezes will take him to Children’s for spinal tap quemo treatments.
And Kristi will start taking Jesiah to speech therapy, occupational therapy and ABA therapy. In February he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum
“They told us if we do all therapy he needs, he’ll be able to have a career and a family,” Kristi said.
The Jimenezes still have a long haul ahead of them; the agony hasn’t ended.
So, days like April 7 are a Swelcome break.
Before and after photos of the living room.