Immokalee family prays for father in hospital while mourning three loved ones

A family has lost three loved ones during the pandemic to COVID-19, and another one is still fighting for his life. Their father is waiting for a lung transplant in Tampa.

A family in Immokalee hopes their story pushes community member to become organ donors, so people like their father can have hope to live.

It’s been an emotional couple of months for the Diaz family.

Most people would be scared, worried and heartbroken seeing their loved one put in the back of an ambulance, but for the Diaz family it’s only the beginning.

It’s an ounce of optimism after so much tragedy, and it’s the moment their dad, Raul Diaz, hit the road to Tampa from NCH Healthcare System after battling COVID-19 for months.

Raul got approved for a bilateral lung transplant.

“It gave us so much hope that, ‘Hey, we are one step closer now,’” said Luis Diaz, Raul’s son. “God has opened one door, and he will continue to open doors, and he is going to deliver for our father.”

To say the Diaz family has suffered during this pandemic is an understatement. They lost three family members — their grandma, grandpa and uncle, all in April.

All of them died of COVID-19.

“It feels like a movie that we just want to cut off,” Luis said. “When you have them back-to-back to back-to-back, it’s like someone is stabbing you in the heart. It shatters your heart. It really does.”

The hope now lies with their father, and that he will pull through.

But just because he’s approved for the transplant doesn’t mean he’s on the list to get the organs.

“They want him to get a little strong, so that way when he goes into that surgery, he can handle it and he can fight it,” said Ricky Diaz, Raul’s son. “Because right now, his body cannot fight it.”

Three of the family members we interviewed Monday were all vaccinated. They will all be together in Tampa Tuesday for Raul Diaz, as he continues to fight for his life.

For now, the family holds onto faith and to one another as family.

“We are not going to lose any hope,” Luis said. “We are going to keep praying, and we are going to keep praying that the Lord delivers for our father and most importantly for our mother, and we are going to continue to stand by each other until God makes this happen.”

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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