Multiple sclerosis patient begs public for help

In every part of society, there are stories of families coming together to overcome the biggest of obstacles. But tonight we profile the story of a single mother and her young son, who after years of quietly shouldering their burden are now in need of your help.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
Fifty-one year old Socorro Castillo is unable to walk on her own. In 1982 she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a health condition that affects the immune and central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. The condition has been greatly affecting Castillo’s ability to live a normal life.

Socorro Castillo, M.S. patient
“Sometimes I just feel like taking a lot of pills and just lay down and just dead, because I cannot do anything. It is very hard for me.”

As she battles with her disease, Castillo struggles to provide for her only child, eleven year old Gabriel Castillo. Before her diagnosis, Castillo worked as a translator at Radio Belize. Now she must rely on a monthly compassionate allowance given by the government. But the single mother says two hundred and fifty eight dollars is simply not enough to buy medication, pay rent and raise a child.

Socorro Castillo
“So when I get this money I just stay with one or two cents. I cannot do anything. Not even buy a pound of sugar. I have to beg from my neighbours to give me sugar. It is hard to beg like that, but I no know. I do not want to question God either because he knows why. I cannot blame God for this disease. I cannot wash clothes, I cannot cook too much because of the heat from the stove and I cannot stand up. The longest I can stand up is about two to three minutes, because I feel like the floor or everything is swinging.”

Their financial situation has forced the Castillo family to move frequently because they cannot meet rent. Tonight they are appealing for the public’s assistance in helping them find a more permanent solution.

Socorro Castillo
“Once I no pay my rent they chase me out like dog. That is what happen to me, and thank God my sister she rescued me or else we would have slept on the street and it was raining. But my sister cannot do a lot for us; she does what she can. It would be wonderful for us if we were living peacefully because that would make us rest. Relax and just lie down in my bed and rest, because I know my son would have shelter, food and his school. So I would not have to worry. I think our government can do a lot for us. I do not expect the government to do one hundred percent for us, because it has a lot of things to do, but at least give me a helping hand.”

Gabriel Castillo, Son
“I stress myself everyday. I try to help my mom. If I go out I check back every five minutes to see if she is alright, because right now we are in a difficult situation. I was going to go in standard six and I was doing good but I was absent too many times, because I was so stressed out. I felt that one day they would call me at school saying my mom would be dead that would shock me--I would go with her.”

Socorro Castillo
“I do not want to see him be a gang leader or nothing I want the best for him. He is my only son. And it is up to me, because God gave me my son to see how I can manage with him. But I know that God is with me. I trust God.”

Young Gabriel has become his ailing mother’s primary caregiver.

Gabriel Castillo
“I usually help her around the house or try to help her get the money. Any necessary things she needs, I do it. But sometimes the things she ask me to do are complicated, but I still do it for my mom.

Socorro Castillo
“But I am really in need. If I could work I would not beg for anything believe me, but I just can’t. When my son was born, I continued working at Radio Belize then when I felt I could not continued I stopped. Then I had to be rushed to Guatemala City. But it is very hard. All I need is peace. That’s all I need just peace.”

The Castillo's would like to say a very special thanks to Beatrice Robateau, the St. Joseph's Parish and the other individuals who have helped them in the past. If you would like to assist Socorro and Gabriel Castillo, you can contact them at cell phone number 663-5692.