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Car show to benefit Ceres boy
diego sanchez
The Connecting Points Church of the Nazarene is holding its annual Cruzin Car Show benefit Saturday with proceeds going to assist Diego Sanchez and his family. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Connecting Point Church of the Nazarene in Denair is hosting its fifth annual Cruzin’ Car Show Benefit Saturday to raise funds for a young disabled Ceres boy.

The proceeds from the car show will go to help Diego Sanchez and his family.

At 5 months of age, Diego was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. It is a genetic disorder that causes muscle atrophy and weakness. Children with SMA type 1 have no muscle control, so they cannot hold their heads up, sit up, walk, crawl, reach out, kick, eat, drink or breathe on their own. Diego must rely on a feeding tube and a ventilator to keep him alive.

Before turning 1 year old, Diego was put into hospice care and his family was told he would likely die within eight months. But Diego had other plans and continued to grow and thrive mentally. He celebrated his sixth birthday this year.

“He’s a happy boy,” said Diego’s mother Blanca Sanchez. “He’s very strong and hasn’t been in the hospital for four years.”

Diego enjoys going to the zoo, watching cartoons and spending time with his family, said his mother.

It is estimated that children with SMA require close to $1 million in medical expenses each year due to their around the clock care.

The SMA Foundation estimates that 1 in 50 Americans are a carrier of the mutation that causes SMA, but that the gene is recessive and doesn’t show any symptoms. Both parents have to be carriers for the disease to be passed on to a child. One in every 6,000 to 10,000 children born in the United States have SMA.

Last year’s recipient from the car show was the Goeppert family of Turlock, who used the funds raised to purchase a wheelchair accessible van.

The car show will be at 3200 E. Monte Vista Ave., in Denair. The car show is accepting day of event registrations for $30 between 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday at the event. The show will feature food, vendors, a raffle, a kids play area, and of course vehicles of all makes, models and years. Admission to the show is free, though donations are accepted.