SAN ANTONIO -- 9-month-old Sebastian Roman of Puerto Rico has captured the hearts of strangers.
The baby has congestive heart failure, and Hurricane Maria knocked out the resources he desperately needs to stay alive.
Since his story first appeared, the generosity of the San Antonio community has been overwhelming. His mother says what the family desperately needs the most for Sebastian is a permanent home.
"I think San Antonio is always known to be that type of community that's always willing to reach out and help anyone in need. Today is a perfect example of that," said Manuel Ornelas, owner of Luna Rosa Puerto Rican Grill.
Seated in the back of Luna Rosa Puerto Rican Grill on the southside, greeting strangers with his curious eyes and contagious spirit, was 9-month-old Sebastian Roman.
"The Puerto Rican community in San Antonio is huge. Everybody knows about each other," said Ornelas. "Everybody is reaching out. Everybody is doing whatever they need to do to make sure that Puerto Rico rises."
Strangers dropped off gifts and donations for the family, forced to move to San Antonio from Gurabo, Puerto Rico.
Thanks to the organization Puerto Rico Relief Airlift, based out of the Alamo City, Sebastian and other patients in need were able to fly off the island. The problem? The organization can't sustain them here much longer.
"We just came with our suitcases and our kids," said Axel Dieppa, Sebastian's father.
Sebastian needs an oxygen tank to sleep. His mother, Desiree Roman, says Sebastian's heavy medical equipment is what keeps him alive.
"In Puerto Rico, there was no way Sebastian could keep progressing," she said. "They still don't have electricity."
Donations poured in. Over $4,000 has been collected on the family's GoFundMe page (https://www.gofundme.com/babysebastianpr). They also received free Uber rides from their motel to the hospital.
Strangers offered their homes and cars to help the family.
"It's a little complicated because Sebastian has a nurse assigned to him but she hasn't been able to be with him because we don't have a permanent home," said Dieppa.
A permanent home will be a lifesaver.
Sebastian requires certain living conditions and specialized care, preparing him for open heart surgery by the end of the year.
"Look at Sebastian. Doctors didn't expect him to live," said Roman. "Now, he's 9 months, by the glory of God. He's a baby, with his condition, it's a baby who tells us we have to keep fighting...He is a happy, tremendous baby boy. He's furious now because he's sleepy! God has been so faithful. He's a miracle."
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