By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (September 2, 2021) – Rarely is a garage sale more than a way to shed some old trinkets and make a quick dollar in the process. The sale at 3112 190th Street is bucking that trend, however, as the Avila’s garage sale will go directly toward funding their daughter’s second stem cell transplant in Arizona.
“Super Teci” is a nickname that can’t begin to capture the remarkable journey of young Teresa Avila, who at age three choked while eating a grape and was unresponsive for 19 minutes before Lansing paramedics were able to restore her heartbeat. The miracle revival left Teci (pronounced “Tessie”) paralyzed and unable to speak.
“It’s a brain injury, so it affects everything. Her muscles were so contracted, we couldn’t even bend her before. And her eyes were just fixated. They didn’t move at all,” said Teci’s mom Elizabeth Avila.
Four years and many medical visits and fundraisers later, Avila says her daughter has made significant progress.
“Now, she turns to you, she laughs, she giggles. She still doesn’t talk, but she tries,” Avila said, “We don’t really know where her vision is at … but she has normal hearing now.” Avila added that Teci has been enjoying horse therapy in recent years.
Raising money for Teci — one used item at a time
Avila said if not for the fundraisers to support their family financially in recent years, Teci’s improvement wouldn’t have been possible.
“Beggars Pizza held the first fundraiser. There was probably three or four hundred people there. And then the second one we did at the Knights of Columbus. And then the pandemic started,” Avila said.
In a COVID-impacted world, Avila and her husband Guillermo have resorted to doing online raffles and garage sales to help raise money for their daughter. The couple has graciously accepted donations of items to be sold, and has an impressive offering at their garage sale on the south side of town.
The sale started on Thursday, September 2 and will run from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday this weekend. Avila also hopes to have more garage sales in the coming weeks if the weather cooperates. The family’s garage sale is located at 3112 190th Street in Lansing.
Educating parents about choking hazards
In addition to her efforts to raise money for Teci’s treatment, Avila wants parents of young children to know the risks that come with certain foods.
“You always think something like this would never happen,” she said. “I want people to know this can happen and I want to help them be a little proactive and say hey, maybe cut the grapes up. I cringe when I hear they do hot dogs at school for preschoolers. … People should know. I can’t imagine another family doing this — this is literally a different world. … We can help get these stories out, we need to save these kids, because this is heartbreaking what they have to go through.”
Supporters can follow Teci on Facebook at Super Teci.
- Lansing mom thanks community for Super Teci’s benefit (March 11, 2018)