On behalf of coach Bob Leetch,
I talk quite a bit about this team being a family, our strong sense of community. I absolutely feel this is what sets our team apart, why our school and hometown are so special. We get to know our neighbors, shopkeepers and the people who serve us our coffee on the way to work. It is part of the fabric of our life, what makes our day-to-day experience enjoyable. Right now there is someone who is a part of our family, our team, who needs our help.
Jeanette Echavarria has been a member of our track and cross country teams for the last two years. Last fall, she was awarded the Super Sea Hawk trophy at our end of season banquet. The Super Sea Hawk is awarded to the team member who has the greatest impact on a team. She comes to practice every day with a great attitude and willingness to work. Just like many of your own sons and daughters, she trains hard, supports her teammates, laughs with friends over Gatorade and heads home to do her homework. That is where things are different for Jeanette.
Jeanette lost her mother when she was five years old. After that, she bounced around from family member to family member while her father stabilized his life. Eventually they were able to live independently in an apartment in Redondo Beach. The past several years have been difficult as Greg struggled from the effects of years of diabetes and hepatitis. The last few years Greg required three times weekly dialysis that left him very weak. He has been on permanent disability and has depended on the state to support himself and his daughter. On April 8th, Greg passed away from complications of his illnesses at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance.
I have gotten to know Greg and Jeanette during her time with us and was moved by their dedication and love for each other. By our standards, things were never easy for them. But you would never know, always so positive and optimistic.
Jeanette would like to fulfill her father’s wishes of having his remains cremated and a simple funeral service at the Veterans Park in Redondo Beach. Veterans Park was a place Greg enjoyed playing as a child, along with taking Jeanette there during her childhood. They both have fond memories there and Jeanette feels it will be a fitting location for the service.
Beyond the funeral, Jeanette will be required to find different housing. There will be certain costs associated with moving and upfront costs attached to the new living arrangement. Due to the circumstances of Greg’s health, they have been living at a level that required the state to provide assistance. Continuing these programs can take months to sort out. Jeanette does not have that much time. Because of the care her father required, she has fallen behind in her studies at Redondo Union High School. While being a letterman on the track team, she has not been able to train this season due to caring for her father. She has yet to compete. It has been Greg’s life goal to see Jeanette finish high school and earn her college degree to become an independent, young woman. With your support, Jeanette will be able to refocus her energies towards her classes and the team.
I have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help Jeanette; who is alone in her responsibility to handle these affairs and seeks any assistance in lessening her financial burden. Anything you can do to help support would be deeply appreciated. She said to me on Tuesday that, “I don’t know what I would do without my team, it’s my family now.” This is our family, our team. She is one of us and she needs our help. Please help her through this very difficult chapter in her young life.
Please visit our site at: gofundme.com/u3yrkzv8