Jesus Fontamillas Jesus's Support Crew

Dear Friends and Family,

As some of you may know, Jesus was diagnosed in early November with a rare form of cancer of the bile ducts. He was 53.  As long-time friends of Jesus and his wife Helena, we were all devastated to hear the news. While it was an aggressive and rare form of cancer, the treating oncologist—and we— were all optimistic it was treatable.  After having successfully put several rounds of chemo behind him, it appeared Jesus might be on the path to beating the cancer.    

On Thursday, December 9, Jesus went in for a routine check-up when doctors discovered he had sepsis, a condition that occurs when the body's reaction to fighting infection triggers widespread inflammation, causing, in Jesus's case, a domino effect of changes resulting in damage to multiple organ systems, leading them to fail. Despite antibiotics and treatment, Jesus’s body was unable to fight the infection or reverse the effects of sepsis. His organs began failing, and the tumors began to grow and take over his body. The doctors told Jesus’s family that there was nothing further they could do and that his family should prepare Jesus for the end of his life.

To those of you who know Jesus, you know he is the most kind, honest, genuine, humble, gentle soul.  He had a passion for family, good wine and hockey (and not necessarily in that order), and for the native Californians, he even managed to convince us hockey was a real sport. He was so pure and naïve a spirit that his wife Helena often joked he “lived under a rock,” - Eagle Rock, that is, a playful homage to his place of residence when they met.  He was a great cook, faithful husband, reputed engineer, loyal church-goer, and consummate father,  but above all, an exemplary human being.  The love he has for Helena and Helena for him is awe-inspiring and truly to be envied.  They were best friends and soulmates. Helena would spend literally every minute at the hospital with him until it was time to go home to put Lucia to bed, and Jesus would ask for Helena by his side every night, until he fell asleep.  He called her his “Heaven on Earth,” and truly she was.  Given how long the cancer had metastasized and now taken over, it’s a miracle he’s still with us.  However, miracles, too, have their time.     

On Saturday, December 18, Jesus was brought home to his wife Helena and his 8-year-old daughter Lucia, to prepare for his passing. Helena has taken time off work to care for Jesus, but her leave from work is extremely limited and soon she will have to return to work to provide for herself and their daughter, on top of handling the impending funeral, burdensome administrative logistics, medical and other expenses — unless the generosity of our collective family, community and friends can allow Helena the time to grieve and focus on Lucia’s well-being until they can get back up on their feet.  It is what Jesus would have wanted. Neither Helena nor Jesus know anything of this fundraiser – and they would frankly be ashamed to ever ask anything of their family and friends, but this is precisely the time they need us. Please give in whatever amount you can, and if you cannot, know that your prayers, love and support are equally welcomed.  We also ask that each of you please share the link to this site with others so that this story can reach all who know or have been touched by the Fontamillas.

In love,
Catherine, Helen, Kate, Laura and Truc

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