It was just another Saturday morning for Mauricio Araniz who was on his way to Modesto Junior College for a basketball game.
As a student young student, Araniz enjoyed being a part of the Pirates’ hoops team and aspired to transfer to a college specializing in theology up in Oregon and eventually become a pastor.
But on that fateful Saturday morning – November 29, 2007 – everything in his world changed as the car he was driving was struck head-on by a woman who lost control of her vehicle after suddenly slipping into a diabetic coma.
For almost two years now Araniz – known affectionately as “Mo” – has been a permanent staple of the Manteca Care and Rehabilitation Center where he works to overcome the massive brain injury that left him incapable of doing almost anything.
And if all of that wasn’t enough, his insurance company is refusing to pay for the hyperbaric oxygen therapy his doctors feel that he needs in order to improve – sessions that are running $150 each with five currently scheduled per week.
When Shelley Kohl was down at the rehabilitation center during the holidays for one of the many outreach programs that she and husband Chris sponsor through their local repair business, the relationship that she began to form with the family helped plant the seed for what would eventually become an overwhelming desire to do anything possible to help.
“It’s just that you think that one minute you’re driving down the road and you’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you and in a split-second that’s all gone,” Kohl said. “To see his family standing by side and pulling through for him and watching him work to get better is such an inspiration.
“To be able to do anything at all to help in a blessing.”
And helping people is something that Kohl knows a lot about.
When some of her customers learned that their newborn baby was diagnosed with a rare blood disease that requires constant transfusions that weren’t covered by the insurance, Kohl and her husband Chris staged a fundraiser and did everything possible to raise awareness about the plight face little Sofia Rose Conde.
Now they’re planning on taking a page of out the same book by scheduling a drive-thru tri-tip and chicken dinner being sponsored by Fagundes – a mean that will include both tri-tip and chicken as well as garden salad and a dinner roll for $10. Kohl is hoping to sell 500 tickets to help the family with the medical expenses that continue to pile up.
“You look around right now with how things are and how people are losing their houses and losing their retirements,” Kohl said. “My husband and I are blessed, and if we have the opportunity to give back to somebody who needs it then that’s what we’re going to do.”
The dinner is scheduled to be held at Precision Automotive located at 475 Moffat Boulevard on Wednesday, June 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at J&J Printing located at 130 N. Maple Avenue. For more information, or to make a donation to help the Araniz family, contact Precision Automotive at 239-8266.