You may not have heard what is going on with the Chesa’s, but they have had an unimaginably bad series of events happen since 2020. Here is a post from gofundme.com from Sarah Marshall. These are good people, and if you can possibly afford it, please do what you can. Here is the information from the website:
Sarah Marshall is organizing this fundraiser for Jose Chesa and Cristina Baez, to help rebuild their family home.
I met Cristina and Jose when we first had our babies and started our businesses. We raised our kids together and built our small family businesses alongside each other. Their children Ethan (8) and Ona (3) are restaurant children, raised in a bustling environment, surrounded by great food and laughter. They welcomed my family, and many others; into their restaurant, lives, and home. Their home is always a joyous place full of children, friends, and wonderful meals. I saw Jose and Cristina work elegantly, give selflessly, lead with love, and always provide for others. They have held community events and fundraisers for colleagues, friends and nonprofits (local and beyond), benefit dinners for anyone needing assistance, and gave to local charities time and time again. They were the pulse of the Portland food scene always ready to lift up other restaurants and chefs. They loved us hard!
The pandemic has hit this family in many tragic ways. First they lost their restaurants (Ataula, Masia, 180 Xurros). Then Cristina broke her foot in 2020 and in early 2021 she found herself in the hospital with major head pain and loss of her sight. After a long stay in the hospital, doctors appointments, tests and scans, they finally found a rare birth defect in the veins in her brain; that is causing her brain to overfill with fluid and not drain properly. It is creating extreme pressure which is making her head and eyes to be in excruciating pain. It is impairing her vision and she is in constant danger of losing her sight. She has been unable to work (even though she would love to). She is still in the process of meeting with neurologists, being under constant watch with an Ophthalmologist Neurologist, and continuing care to figure out how to best live with this. She is striving to maintain a good quality of life for her children and family, while also relearning a lot of skills under very strong medications. At this time, there is not a quick solution, just many medical bills and appointments. As Cristina’s health declined, they lost their business and then their home. After her diagnosis, the Doctor said Cristina needed to move to a lower elevation; a different climate, to help her condition. Keeping positive, that they had each other and could start again, although heartbroken, with the support of their friends and family, Jose found a job in New York, and the family packed up and moved, ready to start a new journey.
Half of their personal belongings, albums (containing priceless childhood memories and letters from Cristina’s deceased Father), and restaurant equipment to begin this new chapter, were damaged and lost by a moving company. Meanwhile the remaining relics of Ataula and 180 Xurros and the essential items from their home in Portland, were being shipped to a storage unit, while they found their new home in New York. A week ago, there was extreme flooding in New York, caused from Storm Ida. Sewage flooded their storage unit, it destroyed all of their belongs, equipment, photo albums, everything. The kids toys, bedding, clothing, were all covered in raw sewage and mud. Cristina sent me a photo of the Ataula recipe book floating in waste, and I knew they needed us to come through for them. Their insurance does not cover natural disasters, so they are left with just the items they flew on the plane with. Our friends need our help.
We can provide them with hope, and support to rebuild their family home. Anything helps, messages of love, cards and letters, and of course money to rebuild. Let’s support our friends, this family who has supported others and given so much to our Portland food community, is in need. They have been through an overwhelming amount of pain this year, and need our help to rebuild their family home. Thank you for sharing and re-posting, all positive thoughts and energy welcome. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.