Senior year is an exciting time for many students as they begin to look forward to graduation and the next chapter in their lives.
For Shane Villafuerte Jr., however, senior year has meant something different.
The Gretna High School student has experienced health problems for more than a year and finds himself unable to attend classes. In fact, Shane has attended only five days of school this year.
“We just want our kid back,” said his mother, Jennifer Villafuerte. “He’s missed his whole senior year. He’s still trying to finish work from his junior year.”
More than a year ago, Shane began to experience flu-like symptoms and headaches and now struggles with debilitating pain and weakness that makes it hard, if not impossible, for him to move around, his mother said.
“It’s hard to get him going,” she said. “And we still have no idea what’s going on.”
For Shane, who once played soccer and was kicker on the high school football team, it has been a frustrating time.
“Everything has been put on hold,” Shane’s mother said. “With everything he’s been put through, we still don’t have answers.”
On Sunday, Shane and his father, Shane Sr., will return to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for the second time. This trip, Shane will spend three weeks there to undergo further tests.
He first visited the Mayo Clinic in December, but doctors were not able to provide any answers to the family.
“Nothing has been ruled out,” his mother said.
To help the family with the costs of traveling to the Mayo Clinic, friends have arranged a Healthy Teen benefit fundraiser on Saturday.
The Charm School Dropouts, a local cover band, will perform from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Gretna American Legion Post, 11690 S. 216th St.
Doors open at 6 p.m. for the family-friendly event, and organizers hope that the community will turn out to support the Villafuerte family during this difficult time.
Food will be available at the event, which will also offer raffles and a cash bar.
Free-will donations will be accepted at the benefit, or donations may be made at gofundme.com/SVillafuerteJr.
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