It was an old-fashioned, heartwarming story made possible by the digital age.
Brandy Huerta's message came to us via the Daily Herald Facebook page. In it, the Carpentersville woman outlined her family's plight. One daughter, Joselyn, struggled for 10 years with a disease that took her life two years ago. Brandy and Josť Huerta's fourth child was born three weeks before Joselyn's death -- with the same life-threatening illness that claimed Joselyn.
But Brandy wasn't looking for pity, nor money. She wanted us to help her say thanks to her 15-year-old daughter Bianca, who was a tireless helper during Joselyn's long battle.
"I knew my daughter's quinceanera was to come and I had nothing to give to show her how much I appreciated her unselfishness, her kindness, her helpfulness, and NEVER once saying "why me" while my attention was needed on focused on her dying sister," Brandy wrote.
Bianca knew the family was struggling financially, and she told her mom she didn't need a fancy quinceanera, a coming-of-age ceremony and a huge tradition in Latino culture.
That's when the family finally caught some good breaks. Brandy told Bianca's story and won two Facebook contests. That netted Bianca a dress, a cake, a professional photo shoot and free use of a banquet hall, including food and beverages for 110 guests, a DJ and a choreographer to help Bianca plan a dance routine for her quinceanera.
Amid this good fortune, though, was a setback: The youngest child, Johanna, was diagnosed with the same disease that killed Joselyn. The illness apparently does not manifest itself until age 2. So, for now, the Huertas are trying to live in the moment.
And, that moment is pretty good, which is why Brandy emphasized in her note that she also wanted us to help her thank "those who have helped us along our journey." I'm sure the friends and family members know who they are, but I'm happy to give a plug to Club Premier Banquets, the East Dundee hall that decided to donate a "dream quinceanera" to a low-income family. The joyous event took place Saturday.
Staff writer Lenore Adkins chronicled all this on Saturday's Page 1. She also noted that Bianca, an incoming sophomore at Dundee-Crown High School, plays viola in two orchestras, is a member of the high school swim team and is an altar server at St. Monica Catholic Church in Carpentersville.
But I especially enjoyed the closing quote from Bianca, thanking her mom, of course.
"She's done so much, like she's like the bestest mother I've like ever known," Bianca said.
An old-fashioned, heartwarming story, made possible by our digital age. We old-fashioned newspapers need to be part of that digital age, If we post the Huertas' story on our Facebook page, we'll extend its reach if more people "like" it. That's the way social networking works, I'm told.
So, please, go to our Facebook page (click on the little Facebook icon in the upper left-hand corner of our website's home page) and "like" Lenore Adkins' story.
I "love" it.