Two Season for Caring families know what Medicaid cuts for therapy mean

Gerardo Reyes, 3, smiles at the crowd as Senator Jose Rodriguez speaks during a press conference outside the Senate at the Capitol on Thursday, September 15, 2016. Last legislative session cuts were made to pediatric therapy covered by Medicaid. Reyes has lost some of his therapy services because of the cuts. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN

Gerardo Reyes, 3, smiles at the crowd as Senator Jose Rodriguez speaks during a press conference outside the Senate at the Capitol on Thursday, September 15, 2016. Last legislative session cuts were made to pediatric therapy covered by Medicaid. Reyes has lost some of his therapy services because of the cuts. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN

When the state cut $350,000 in disability services to Medicaid, it often affects families that are chosen for Season for Caring. In this story by Statesman reporter Julie Chang about the cuts, we noticed a familiar face: 3-year-old Gerardo Reyes. He and his family were part of Season for Caring two years ago. He is one of the kids who won’t have access to the same therapy he has been receiving.

Gerardo was born with hydrocephalus, the buildup of fluid in brain cavities, and hydranencephaly, which means his brain’s cerebral hemispheres are largely absent and replaced by fluid-filled sacs.

This year, Season for Caring recipient 9-year-old Raymond Martinez-Garcia also has seen his

Maricela Garcia cares for her son Raymond Alejandro Martinez-Garcia, 9, at their apartment. JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Maricela Garcia cares for her son Raymond Alejandro Martinez-Garcia, 9, at their apartment. JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

therapies cut. Raymond was born with Renpenning syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by small head size, intellectual disabilities and developmental delays. He also has autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

His mother Maricela Garcia works a part-time job caring for seniors. She could not afford any of his therapies on her $8.61 an hour wage.

Their wish list: Financial assistance for child care, health care, rent and utilities; an immigration attorney; tuition to attend certified nursing assistant school; a gently used car, car insurance and driving lessons; iPad for Raymond to use for communication; gift cards to Amazon.com for therapy equipment; sign language tutoring for Maricela and Raymond; private speech, occupational and physical therapy for Raymond; eyeglasses and eye exam for Maricela; Pull-Ups for Raymond to use at school; weighted sensory blanket (Fun and Function or similar); two full beds and bedding; dressers for Maricela and Raymond; desk with filing cabinet and shelving/storage for household items (Kallax unit or similar); pots and pans; toaster; dishes; 8-foot-by-10-foot and 9-foot-by-12-foot rugs for bedroom and living room; gift cards to H-E-B, Target and Wal-Mart; clothing for Maricela (size 14 pants, large tops, size 10 shoes) and Raymond (boys size 8 pants, boys medium shirts, size 3 shoes).

Nominated by: Foundation Communities; 3036 S. First St. 512-610-7391, foundcom.org.

Watch a video of Maricela Garcia explaining what these funding cuts mean to her.