The life of Cristina Gil López changed completely on 18 July 2014 when she gave birth to her second child, Kevin. Early during the pregnancy she contracted chicken pox, resulting in the boy being born with serious physical issues.
His level of disability has been assessed at 90 per cent. He is permanently connected to a breathing machine and relies on seven more apparatus to survive. Barely one week after the birth, Cristina had to move Kevin from Humilladero to the city of Malaga along with her other child, Alexia, aged seven. Here, Kevin undergoes essential medical treatment at the Hospital Materno Infantil children's hospital. For 18 months they lived close to the hospital in a house provided by the Ronald McDonald Foundation, but Cristina eventually decided to move somewhere more permanent. “What my son has is chronic; he will have it for the rest of his life,” she explains through tears.
The young mother cannot work because she needs to care for her son 24 hours a day. “His father lives in Humilladero, he helps when he can, but he is also unemployed,” says Cristina.
Currently, the Andrés Olivares Foundation is funding Cristina's rent for a flat on Avenida Blas de Lezo, her fourth home since 2014. Cristina requests social housing closer to the children's hospital, so she can move forward. “At the moment I constantly have to go to Accident and Emergency.”
The 27-year-old mother explains that her son's condition has changed her life completely, but he has also made her “happy and stronger”. She goes on: “To see him smile when we go to the park and watch the other children means a lot to me and to his sister, who has also struggled, moving between three different schools. She has seen her brother have to be resuscitated after he stopped breathing completely.”
Barely 400 euros in benefits
Cristina has decided to ask for help using social media. Over the last few months she has not stopped sharing messages, photographs and videos of her “little super hero”.
“People have been sharing my posts everywhere, they send me money, clothes, food, whatever they can,” says Cristina.
With barely 400 euros a month in disability benefits, she must pay the 300-euro monthly electricity bill as well as feed her children.
“I could be receiving social rent payments of 250 euros per month. I have presented my case in writing five times to the city council and the regional government and they have not answered me,” complains this brave mother of two.
A group of volunteers is working to organise a musical benefit gala to raise funds. Various musicians have already offered their services.
Cristina feels very alone in the city of Malaga, given that her family live in Girona, her birthplace. “My parents are old and infirm, they can rarely come to see me,” she reveals. However, she hasn't lost faith. Cristina knows that with effort, hope and a positive attitude, she can keep going.
“Lots of people are supportive and caring and falling over themselves to help me move forward,” she declares.
Cristina Gil López reveals that a man offered to pay for one or two months of respiratory therapy.
“With all the donations I have managed to buy Kevin a resuscitator,” she adds. Furthermore, an early-care physiotherapist comes to see Kevin three times a week.
He also receives at-home classes from a teacher as he is unable to attend the Ciudad de Mobile school, at which he is a registered pupil.