When tragedy struck a local Wimauma family, community members quickly banded together offering emotional and financial support.
A family friend reached out to the South Shore Chamber of Commerce with the heartbreaking story of 12-year-old Jasmin Cervantes-Garcia, a student in Academy 2027, a first-of-its-kind middle school program at Sumner High School in Riverview, who ended up the sole survivor of a car crash that killed her parents, Maria and Cruz, and grandparents, Enrique and Alicia, in late June while they were vacationing in Mexico. The crash left the young girl fighting for her life in a hospital in Mexico while the deceased family members’ bodies were sent back to Ruskin/Wimauma for funeral services.
Jasmin’s aunt, Cindy Garcia, a nurse herself, quickly realized that the medical system in Mexico is much different than in the United States; Jasmin’s care was at a stand-still, and she knew she had to bring her back home. That was when a family friend turned to the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and its executive director, Melanie Davis.
Davis took the story to Facebook, urging members for donations to help bring Jasmin back and assist with the medical bills. After her Friday post, Davis reported on Monday morning that the money set out to raise to help get Jasmin home had been raised.
On July 10, JET ICU, a Tampa-based air ambulance company, picked up Jasmin; her older brother, Cruz Cervantes-Garcia; and her aunt in Leon, Mexico and returned them to Tampa. Jasmin was then transported to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg for further care.
“Although we helped get the final $7,500 they needed, there are still going to be so many expenses once they get her home, so feel free to continue sharing her GoFundMe page,” Davis posted.
Garcia reported that Jasmin suffered a brain injury and that she is aware but unable to speak, communicating through eye blinks and hand squeezes. She added that Jasmin is unaware of what happened.
In addition to the funds raised by the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, area churches and Helping Hands of SouthShore also made contributions. As of press time, a little more than $48,000 of the $55,000 goal had been raised.
“This is not even the beginning,” said Garcia. She stated that some of the money has already been spent and there is a long road ahead. “This is nothing we have experienced before,” Garcia added.
“We will continue to help the family by being a resource to them,” commented Davis, noting that she talks daily with Garcia.
Those interested in helping Jasmin and her family can do so through Zelle at 941-345-7423, Cash App via $cindygarcia9 or through the GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/f/bring-jasmin-home-and-medical-expenses.