Tending Goals After Tragedy in San Juan

AvilaBy Megan Cuniff, OC Register

For Cinthia and Diana Avila, it still seems like a bad dream.

And it happened so fast. One moment their mother sat in her bedroom, nursing a crippling headache. Minutes later, emergency crews whisked her out of her San Juan Capistrano apartment into an ambulance. She arrived at Mission Hospital in a coma, and she never woke up.

Nearly four months have passed, but for the sisters, time seemed to freeze on that day.

“It still feels like it was all a dream and it didn’t happen,” said Diana, 25, and now 14-year-old Cinthia’s legal guardian. “Like she’s just going to walk in the door one day.”

But the sisters aren’t alone. Cinthia’s former soccer coach, Clyde Blackwelder, has set up a trust fund and is working to organize a network of community members to support Cinthia as she tries to do what no one in her family has ever before done: earn a college degree.

They’re off to a great start.

Carlos Solorzano, whose daughter Raquel is Cinthia’s best friend, secured Cinthia a scholarship to JSerra Catholic High School, where he teaches Spanish. Cinthia began her career as a Lion in August. She loves studying science and is interested in a career in nursing. She plans to try out for soccer this month.

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