WESTMORLAND — When 14-year-old Oscar Urbina Jr. complained about his fractured right elbow, his aunt Esmeralda Gutierrez reminded about him about his little cousin Arianna.
Arianna, who was born with dislocated hips and bilateral clubfeet, is a charming but determined 20-month-old girl who “refuses to give up” in spite of her physical limitations, her mother said.
Arianna’s spirit is on display the moment she stubbornly reaches out for the walker she needs to get around after dragging herself on the floor to play with a favorite toy.
“She teaches you a lesson,” Gutierrez recalled telling Oscar. Gutierrez is Arianna’s mother.
Arianna’s smile is expected to shine for all to see Saturday when an all-day fundraiser at the Hidalgo Hall in Brawley gets under way.
Proceeds from the event — which starts at noon and is scheduled to last well into the day — will go toward covering therapy and especially the equipment Arianna will need following the Nov. 2 surgical procedure she’ll undergo to correct her right hip.
Arianna is slated to undergo a second surgery possibly in mid-December or early January to correct Arianna’s left hip, Gutierrez said.
Arianna’s family reports that she was born without hip sockets and had casts on her feet for at least 10 months.
Doctors discovered that Arianna had little to no muscle development on her left foot, a birth defect that required surgery when Arianna was 11 months, family members said.
Today, doctors learned that Arianna is starting to develop sockets but her surgery next month is still needed, Gutierrez said.
“She was in a lot of pain in the beginning,” she said.
Gutierrez, a single mother, faced a hard time herself this year after having lost her medical billing job and had to move back in with her family.
As if to make matters worse, Gutierrez said she was on her last extension to receive unemployment benefits.
But in spite of her hardship, Gutierrez takes inspiration from her little girl who, as Gutierrez said before, will not quit.
Things are starting to look up, as Brawley Mayor Don Campbell donated $500 to help out Arianna, Gutierrez said.
Campbell invited Gutierrez to appear before the Brawley City Council to speak about Saturday’s fundraiser for Arianna, Gutierrez said.
“She teaches me as a single mom for me to never give up,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez’s brother-in-law Pedro Leon Jr. also doesn’t want to give up, saying he spent “sleepless nights” wondering what could be done to help out Arianna.
The fundraiser, which also features food and DJs playing music, was Leon’s brainchild, Gutierrez said.
“She struggles,” Leon said about his niece. “But she always has that smile on her face.”
Staff Writer Silvio J. Panta can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you go
WHAT Fundraiser for Arianna Gutierrez
WHEN noon Saturday
WHERE Hildalgo Hall, 615 S. Cesar Chavez St. Brawley