Things That Matter

A New York Family Is Coming Together To Support The Father After Forgetting His Twins In His Car When At Work

A family is grieving an unimaginable tragedy. Father Juan Rodriguez accidentally left his 1-year-old twins, Luna and Pheonix Rodriguez, in his car when he arrived to work. Eight hours later, Juan went back to his car to drive home when he had the realization that his twins had been strapped in their car seats the entire day. A community has come together to help the grieving family.

Iraq veteran and social worker for the VA is facing charges for leaving his twins in his car when he went to work.

Credit: Facebook

Juan works as a social worker for the James J. Peters VA Hospital in the Bronx. On Friday, July 23, the father of the twins, who had just turned 1, went to work and forgot to leave his children at daycare. Juan then worked a full day and it wasn’t until he was back in his car and already driving when he realized that his children were still strapped into their car seats in the back seat.

Witnesses say they saw Juan stepping out of his car crying and screaming for help.

Credit: Eyewitness News ABC7NY / YouTube

“He’s screaming and he gets on the phone and is like, ‘Oh my god, my kids died. Oh my God, my kids died,” one witness told local news. “He was very very very sad.”

Authorities have paused on an indictment leading some to believe the original charges will be reduced or dropped.

Credit: CBS New York / Twitter

“We are speaking to the district attorney’s office to convey to them, what I think that they know and understand, that this was a horrific and terrible tragedy,” Rodriguez’s Attorney Joey Jackson told the press. “Obviously, my client, Mr. Rodriguez, his wife, his mom, his dad, his beautiful family, his 16-year-old, his 12-year-old, his 4-year-old, they’re completely crushed by this incident.”

Jackson confirmed that Juan will be back in court on Aug. 27 to see if the grand jury has found enough evidence to indict Juan for the death of his children.

Strangers are coming together to raise money for the families legal and funeral costs linked to the tragedy.

Credit: Eyewitness News ABC7NY / YouTube

“Juan Rodriguez is a loving father and a dedicated husband, with a relentless drive to improve the lives of his family and community. A disabled veteran, as well as a social worker for the VA Hospital in the Bronx; he has first-hand knowledge of how traumatic experiences can impact lives” reads the GoFundMe set up for the family. “He has helped countless veterans with their daily lives and has served as a liaison between veterans, and outside agencies that work closely with the VA hospital. He has dedicated his life to public service, positively affecting thousands of lives. Juan is an honest and hard-working man. A man who now has to deal with the same type of traumatic loss that he has helped others cope with in the past.”

The GoFundMe has raised more than $89,000 so far.

Credit: GoFundMe

“This incident was a heartbreaking accident that has impacted the entire family. We are asking for your support, to help them get through this horrible and dark moment, and to find peace during this nightmare,” reads the GoFundMe account. “The family seeks to mourn together and be reunited, while they begin to tackle the impossible task of going on with their lives. We are asking for community support, in the same manner that Juan and Marissa have supported this community, while they cope with this tragedy.”

The family is standing behind Juan as he battles in the courts.

Credit: Facebook

“Though I am hurting more than I ever imagined possible, I still love my husband,” Marissa Rodriguez, his wife, said in a statement on Sunday. “This was a horrific accident, and I need him by my side to go through this together.”

Funeral services for the twins are being held on Friday, August 2, less than one month after the twins celebrated their first birthday.

READ: Authorities Are Investigating The Tragic Death Of A Couple In Front Of Their Son While On Vacation In Guerrero

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Comedian Joe ‘El Cholo’ Luna Dies From COVID-19 Just Days After He Posts a Video Describing His ‘Journey’ on Instagram

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Comedian Joe ‘El Cholo’ Luna Dies From COVID-19 Just Days After He Posts a Video Describing His ‘Journey’ on Instagram

Photo: joeelcholo/Instagram

Another day, another tragic COVID-19 related death. On November 3rd, a Los Angeles comedian Joe “El Cholo” Luna passed away from the coronavirus.

Throughout his battle with COVID-19, Luna documented his struggle through social media.

Just two days before he passed away, Luna posted a video on Instagram chronicling his COVID-19 journey. He shared the video with his followers for “educational purposes”. In the video, Luna got extremely candid about the realities of the deadly illness.

“Let me tell you, man, when I would hear people talk about what COVID did to them, I always said to myself, ‘You know what? I doubt it’s that bad’,” he says in the video. “I’ll tell you guys right now, I’ve been putting up a fight. I’ve been fighting for my life for the last week or so, man. This COVID shit is no joke.”

Luna described his symptoms: losing his taste and smell, fainting, having trouble breathing, fevers, chills, chest pains. He also contracted pneumonia. At one point, he even lost consciousness.

Luna explained that he had been discharged from the hospital a few days ago simply to be taken back to the hospital via an ambulance. “I ended up passing out,” he said in the clip.

He also revealed that his mother, his girlfriend, and his children had tested positive for the virus. His mother was also hospitalized with COVID-19 and pneumonia.

Luna was a diabetic and had previously lost both of his legs due to the disease. According to him, COVID-19 hit him especially hard due to his preexisting conditions.

Luna’s family and community mourn the loss of a vibrant man who had been full of humor and light when he was alive.

“We are currently all mourning him because not only was he a great son, dad, hubby but also a best friend to many of us,” wrote Blanca Castro on his GoFundMe page.

She continued: “He fought hard after losing both legs to stay ok. He fought hard with the everyday pain. He was my comedian superhero. Even when he was hurting he managed to put a smile on our faces.”

Because of his father’s bright spirit, his family insists on celebrating his death the way he would have wanted: with humor. “For his funeral, he doesn’t want anyone crying so we’re going to put together a show because that’s what he would have wanted,” said his son, Jose Talavera, to Fox 11 News. “He wanted people to be laughing and having fun,” said Talavera.

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Ben Watkins Of ‘MasterChef Junior’ Has Died From A Rare Form Of Cancer

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Ben Watkins Of ‘MasterChef Junior’ Has Died From A Rare Form Of Cancer

Fox

The “MasterChef Junior” family is sadly in mourning.

Ben Watkins, a fan-favorite contestant on the show for children who love to cook, has died. Watkins was just 14. He passed away on Monday, after a year-long battle of fighting a rare form of cancer.

According to Chicago Tribune Watkins passed away after struggling with a rare form of cancer for a year and a half.

MasterChef Junior/ FOX

Just three years after Watkins lost both of his parents to a domestic violence incident, the teen’s family is being forced to say ‘goodbye’ to him. Watkins uncle Anthony Edwards and grandmother Donna Edwards issued a statement on Monday that said their beloved family member had gone “home to be with his mother.”

“After losing both of his parents in September 2017, we have marveled at Ben’s strength, courage and love for life. He never, ever complained. Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know. When Ben’s rare illness was shared with the world, he was so heartened by the outpouring of love he received from every corner of the globe–especially here in his hometown of Gary, Indiana,” the statement, which was shared on a GoFundMe campaign page, stated. “We cannot thank this community enough for holding our family up in prayer and for all that you’ve done. Ben suffered more than his share in his fourteen years on this Earth but we take solace in that his suffering is finally over and in that, in the end, Ben knew he was loved by so many. #Love4Ben.”

Watkins was diagnosed last year with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, just days before his 13th birthday.

MasterChef Junior

Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma is a rare soft tissue cancer. It occurs in only a small number of children and young adults and is characterized by cystic blood-filled spaces and made up of histiocyte-like cells.

“Young Ben is one of only six people in the entire world diagnosed with this illness. Ben is currently undergoing treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Despite all of Ben’s trials and tribulations, he remains positive and looks forward to getting back in the kitchen and pursuing his dream to become an Engineer.   Members of the community have joined together to see that the life challenges that Ben has gone through does not derail him from reaching his full potential and fulfilling his dreams,” the statement concluded.

According to Chicago Tribune, Watkin’s had a golf-ball-sized tumor in his neck that had grown into a grapefruit-sized mass. Watkins underwent chemotherapy treatment for tumors located on his lungs, spine, and shoulder.

“Despite all the pain and sickness Ben went through, he never complained, not once,” Edwards told the Chicago Tribune. “We were praying for a different outcome. But Ben’s lungs could no longer give him the air he needed to breathe. It’s been devastating.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, “When Ben was first diagnosed, one of his doctors began writing a medical paper on Ben’s rare disease. Adhering to privacy rules, the doctor didn’t use Ben’s name. You can use my name,” Ben told the doctor. ‘Do whatever it takes. I don’t want another kid to have to go through what I’m going through.’ Ben and his family also consented for tissue to be extracted from his cancerous tumors after his death, to be shared with researchers. By doing so, Ben’s altruistic legacy will continue in the medical community as well as in his family.”

Speaking about his nephew, Edwards told Chicago Times that “Ben will always be our superhero.”

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