Things That Matter

Social Media Shows Up To Help Abuela Living In Dire Straights While Taking Care Of Disabled Great-Grandson

All too often we hear stories involving social media that don’t paint the best picture of the digital platforms. From trolls coming for people or fights and arguments going public to sexual harassment and doxxing, social media has so often been used as a tool to do harm.

Thankfully, though, that’s not always the case.

Now we get to tell the story of how one viral video has helped rescue a 90-year-old abuelita and her disabled 17-year-old great-grandson from dire straights.

A 90-year-old abuela and her great-grandson will soon have a new home thanks to support from social media.

Last week, a video was posted to social media about the dangerous and unsanitary conditions a 90-year-old woman and her great-grandson were living in. The woman, from Veracruz, Mexico, lived with her great-grandson, Pedro Miguel, in a shack with tarps for walls and rusted-out tin roof.

The shack was furnished with not much more than a bed, which got wet every time it rained. López’s children have died, her grandchildren have abandoned her, and Pedro is basically the only family she has.

Since the video went viral, DIF Family Services agency met with López and her grandson to assess their health and announced both would get the medications they need. Meanwhile, Leonor López, has been housed in a shelter for the elderly and Pedro was placed in a state-run home where each will remain until authorities can find a home for her and Pedro.

The great-grandmother and her great-grandson are all the other has.

Credit: Isabel Zamudio / Getty Images

Leonora has cared for Pedro ever since he was abandoned by his mother shortly after birth. The 17-year-old does not speak and suffers from epileptic seizures.

Before being placed in supportive housing, each day Leonor would leave her house with a rope tied to the arm of her great-grandson as they went out to collect whatever they could to earn money. Some days they’d collect aluminum cans or cardboard to sell and some days they’d visit verdulerías or even private homes to dig through the garbage to find something to eat.

Every two months Leonora would receive her disability pension of $2,500 pesos (or about $125 USD), which she had to use to buy medicines for Pedro. She also told Milenio that she owes money from the last time Pedro got severely ill.

“When he gets sick I take him to the hospital or to the Red Cross, but they charge me a lot, because he has seizures. This time he got sick I took him but they charged me $6,400 [pesos or ($320 USD)] for three days of care.”

However, since being taken into assisted care, Pedro has also been enrolled to receive his own disability pension, which will definitely help address his medical costs.

Sadly, there misfortunes haven’t ended there.

In what is truly a disappointing story, often times when Leonor and Pedro have gone out to try and earn what money they can, they’re home is robbed of what little they have. According to their neighbor Rogelio, the community hasn’t come to their support – instead they steal from the family.

“I don’t see someone coming to help her, on the contrary, what little she has there they steal from her, even though she is alone in her house they steal what little she can gather; people take advantage,” Rogelio told Milenio.

Thankfully, the viral video has helped spur change for the family and they’ll soon have a proper home and the government benefits they’re both entitled to.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com