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Monday, February 2, 2015


And we can come together to serve a greater purpose
By Silvia Uribe
This is a tale of a beautiful young woman and her family, her church family, and a caring community, and how they (we) all came together in a time of crisis.

During her birthday party, in December 2014, 17 year old Grace Fisher suddenly began to feel alarming sensations in her body. Her hands were numb and her neck sore. She insisted they call 911, and she was rushed to the hospital.  After getting to the hospital, she gradually lost all mobility. Grace had to be intubated, unable even to breathe on her own.  This came as a shockwave that hit those who know her, including her friends, and her schoolmates and teachers at Santa BArbara High School.

Due to an unknown reason Grace contracted acute flaccid myelitis, a polio-like, paralyzing syndrome that has impacted 107 children in 34 states between August of 2014 and January of this year; Grace is only the 101st child patient to be diagnosed in our country.

Although Grace had medical insurance coverage, after a month in the hospital, the medical out of pocket expenses for her family were exponentially mounting. The idea of a fundraising event was brought up. This idea resonated with the Missions Committee at the First United Methodist Church, which already had a fundraiser planned with Via Maestra Providing the food. When they learned about Grace's family situation, it was decided to make Gracie the beneficiary, instead. From that, an outpouring of love, compassion, and positive energy emanated. 

The Moiso family, members of the church, and owners of the well-known restaurant Via Maestra 42, prepared and donated food for all those who would be willing to pay $25 for a meal. Many church members, rapidly RSVP'd and signed up to help with setting up, waiting tables, dish washing, and with clean up.  Other people advertised the event via Facebook, by email, and in any other possible way. It was widely announced that 100% of the proceeds would go directly to the family. The media, KEYT3 and Santa Barbara NewsPress played a crucial role informing the greater Santa BArbara area, in a compassionate and socially responsible way.

The rest is history.

Over five hundred people, from all walks of life in our community, gathered to achieve one single purpose: To support one child and her family during this crisis.  It was refreshing to see strangers interacting with each other, greeting each other, like old friends would do, except this was probably the first time they had ever met! My self-imposed duty that day, was to clean up tables, and although my intention was not to eves drop, I couldn’t help but listening to some of the conversations. One woman said “there is something for all of us to learn out of what has happened to Grace, and it is that we are still a community and we can come together to serve one greater purpose, no matter where we come from, what we do, or who we are. We sometimes forget about that”  Totally agreed!

The results? More than $34,000 were raised, at the event, and more donations are still coming in.

You can still make a donation:
Gracie Fisher Fund
308 Paseo Del Descanso
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Grace was air transported last Wednesday, and she is now at the Craig Rehab Hospital just outside of Denver, Colorado. For updates on Gracie’s progress, see web site:  

If you are interested in sending Grace and her family a note of hope you can do it at:

Hospital Address: Craig Hospital
c/o Grace Fisher
3425 South Clarkson St.
                                Englewood, CO 80113 

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