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Students on a mission to help classmate

December 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Local Reseda students are on a mission to help a classmate get a prosthetic leg.Jose Gonzalez, 18, loss his leg five years ago in an accident in his country, El Salvador.

"When I had my two legs I able to do sports, and do what other folks can do. Now I can't," said a translator for Gonzalez.

When Jose left El Salvador more than a year ago and moved to the San Fernando Valley he entered Cleveland High School in Reseda. There he met 17-year-old student Evelyn Galvez. She was so taken by his positive attitude, despite his disability she bought him crutches. Now she wants to buy him a prosthetic leg.

"I saw something in him that attracted me to him, to speak to him, to acknowledge his presence as a whole person. His personality was amazing," said Galvez.

Among other things Galvez was impressed with Jose's passion to make the soccer team.

"I don't directly participate in the games, for obvious reasons. However, I train with them and practice with them and I am a member of the team," said Gonzalez.

On Friday, Galvez and the Latino Student Union held a meeting to talk about fundraisers to help Jose get money for a prosthetic leg so he can fulfill his passion for soccer and more.

"He plays soccer and it is amazing. People who do have all of their limbs together take it for granted. I even do it sometimes," said Galvez.

Galvez says the effort to raise funds to get Jose a leg began two months ago. She says so far students, faculty, parents and the community have pledged $1700 towards her goal of $50,000 to get Jose a top of the line prosthetic leg.

School officials are touched.

"I think it is highly impressive," said Carlos Valdovinos, assistant principal.

Galvez and school officials say several doctors have called interested in donating a leg for Jose -- possibly by Christmas.

The school held a fundraiser Friday evening on the campus.

If you are interested in helping the students on their mission please call Cleveland High School at (818) 885-2304.


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