Lee Hernandez quickly became an example of the good the internet is capable of, after he said his dying wish was to have people call or text him. He got his wish – probably a little more than he was expecting.
Hernandez, a 47-year-old who lives in New Braunfels, Texas, has had three brain surgeries, but still has continuous strokes that have affected his vision and cognitive abilities, according to the Arizona Republic. Doctors have been unable to figure out what’s wrong and said the only thing they can do is make him comfortable, and he’s now under hospice care within his home.
Recently, he asked his wife, Tina Hernandez, if she would hold his phone for him “in case someone calls.” When no one did for two hours, he said “I guess no one wants to talk to me.”
So Tina Hernandez went to work on making sure her husband, who served in the Army for 18 and a half years, including a tour in Iraq, would get those calls. So she asked the Internet for help. It worked, too – his phone crashed after he received more than 100,000 text messages, according to a GoFundMe page started by a friend of the couple.
“The fact that people contacted him and there were people who cared, has really made a dramatic effect on Lee’s mood and spirit and overall health,” the GoFundMe says. “Today he has had one of the best days in a long time and even danced!!!!! This is huge.”
So the GoFundMe went a step further in its requests for Lee Hernandez. Setting up a home for disability needs gets expensive fast, and the family friend asked if people would mind donating in addition to the calls. The goal for the GoFundMe, which was started on Sunday, is $5,000.
That money would go towards transportation needs for Lee Hernandez’s motorized wheelchair, rails in the bathroom, ramps around the home and a service dog, in addition to smaller expenses such as food and traveling for day trips.
“There are a few places that Lee would like to visit on his bucket list. They usually make short day trips, but Lee loves to go places,” the page says. “One place on his bucket list is Yellowstone. If funds permit, a trip(s) will be organized so that Lee can have this experience and hopefully many more.”
Tina, whose full name is Ernestine Hernandez, shared a video of she and Lee Hernandez thanking everyone for their calls and texts on Friday.
“Thank you all for your text messages and your phone calls, and for thinking of me and supporting me,” he said with a soft voice. “I appreciate it all.”
People who would still like to call Lee can reach him at 210-632-6778. The best time to reach him is between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST, because that’s when he’s most alert. The GoFundMe page said they will share a P.O. box where people can send cards once it’s set up.