Update: It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Narda from her cancer on the evening of Tuesday, March 31. The community continues to rally and will continue to support the family fundraiser on Wednesday, April 8, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at FishHawk Fellowship.
Original Story: Fishhawk Ranch is a community abounding with caring and compassionate souls. We celebrate each others’ victories and help carry each others’ burdens, quick to assist in times of need.
It is no surprise then that when residents learned of a family in the midst of a daunting trial, they quickly came to their aid.
FishHawk resident Narda Almonte thought her busy life as a wife and mother was making her tired, falling asleep sometimes as soon as her husband Wilson came home from work. Then the pain began in her back and stomach.
Doctors, after a myriad of tests and biopsies, have settled on a devastating diagnosis: liver and colon cancer. Doctors have been unable to determine the primary source of the disease, making the cancer difficult to treat.
The couple is not unfamiliar with tragedy. Three years ago, the couple lost their 5-year-old daughter Sophia when a rare bacterial infection weakened her heart. She died in the car on the way to the hospital.
The diagnosis has left the family in financial ruin. Wilson, a businessman who owns Brandon Magazine and Iguana Printing, is putting aside his businesses to be there for Narda. The couple also has a son, 6-year-old Julian.
The Almontes also do not have health insurance.
So the family that is used to giving, a family that has never been on food stamps or Medicaid, now finds themselves on the receiving end.
Wilson expresses the difficulty of accepting charity from friends and neighbors. “I’ve always been a provider for my family, but I have reined in my pride and know I need to accept help from others,” he says. “My hands are tied.”
David Whitten, pastor at FishHawk Fellowship, affirmed to him that God is sending people his way and he needs to accept their help, which the community is offering so selflessly.
A bank account has been set up at Region’s Bank. Anyone wishing to make a donation can go into any branch and deposit the money into an account opened by the Almonte’s neighbor, Millie Coffey.
FishHawk Fellowship, in addition to prayers and fasting, is hosting a fundraiser for the family on Wednesday evening, April 8. Food is being donated by Chick-fil-A Valrico and Formaggio’s Italian Restaurant. Families are asked to prereserve meals by Sunday, April 5 and $10 per adult and $5 donation per child is suggested. To reserve, call the church at 655-7431. FishHawk Fellowship is located at 15326 FishHawk Boulevard.
The Mom’s Club of Lithia-Bevis has already taken up a collection and plans on having a fundraiser during the upcoming community yard sale.
The family will be attended to in their time of need, allowing Wilson the one thing he needs the most.
“The most important thing right now is that I am there for my family,” says Wilson, “and for all the help I am receiving right now, I am extremely grateful.”
Another upcoming fundraiser to benefit the family will be two special Romper Rhythms classes on Friday April 3. There will be two classes to choose from 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Classes will be held at the Osprey Club in Fishhawk Ranch. You must RSVP in advance to Jenn Patterson at 813-767-1729 to reserve your spot, the cost of the class is usually $6 but any donation for the family will be accepted.
The MOMS Club of Fishhawk Creek has also joined forces to provide assistance to the family and presented a donation.
Brandon Foundation Angels Program is also in touch with the family and providing assistance.