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Parking lot sale Friday helps young victim of 2007 head-on car crash

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POSTED March 17, 2010 3:15 a.m.
It was just an ordinary fall morning when Mauricio “Mo” Alaniz was heading down McHenry Avenue on his way to Modesto Junior College.

The former Turlock High School basketball standout had hopes of playing for the Pirates, but had those dreams cut drastically short on Nov. 27, 2007, when a car swerved into his lane and struck his vehicle head-on. After being rushed to the hospital with severe brain damage, Mo slipped into a coma for months.

But through an aggressive treatment program at Manteca Care and Rehabilitation Center – which serves as home for the 21-year-old Mo – and support from the outside community that are helping with the mounting medical bills, small improvements aren’t uncommon for the vigilant young man.

For Letty Westbrock of the Lathrop Christian Center, Mo’s story rings awfully close to home after her husband suffered permanent disabilities from a horrific car accident. But seeing a 21-year-old that just recently learned how to swallow and hold his head up strikes a special chord in her heart.

“The treatment that he’s receiving isn’t cheap, and the family can definitely use the help of the community in any way possible,” Westbrock said. “Without the treatment he might not ever improve, and that’s a tragedy for a young man that has his whole life ahead of him.”

As part of his therapy, Mo spends time inside of a hyperbaric chamber – at a cost of $150 per session that isn’t covered by his insurance.

While the rehabilitation facility provides him with a bed and the care that he needs, the advanced treatment is something that will likely be ongoing, and the proceeds raised after the immediate outpouring of support are starting to run dry.

Project Serve – an outreach effort through Lathrop Christian Center – will he holding a huge parking lot sale on Friday, March 19, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1919 W. Louise Avenue in Lathrop. Each member of the congregation donated items and an ad placed in the Penny Saver has helped yield even more items for the unique fundraiser.  

And having a church come to his aid might be more than just coincidence.

While young Mo had aspirations to be a basketball player at Modesto Junior College, he also harbored ambitions to become a pastor at some point in his life – something that Westbrock learned through the regular visits at Manteca Care and Rehab since they began in January of this year.

“When I first met him, it didn’t really register what the situation was really all about,” Westbrock said. “The more I learned about him, the more my hearts went out to him and trying to figure out how we can help him.
“We encourage anybody who can spare anything to help this young man make his recovery.”

For more information about how to donate to Mo’s therapy, or to inquire about how to get involved with the upcoming parking lot sale, contact Lathrop Community Church at 858-1317.
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