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Kenner family with disabled child still struggling to get by after Hurricane Ida

Published: Feb. 5, 2022 at 1:38 PM CST
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KENNER, La. (WVUE) - Joseph Capitano spends most of his days taking care of his daughter, who was born with congenital muscular dystrophy and relies heavily on an oxygen machine to breathe.

“We are her primary providers lately, since Covid these last two or three years,” Capitano said. “We’ve been trying to keep her as healthy as we can.

“She can’t sit, she can’t walk, she can’t talk. She’s fed through her stomach.”

If that wasn’t enough, the family of seven -- including a newborn -- had its world turned upside down since Hurricane Ida hit more than five months ago.

“The ceilings in the kitchen, both my bathrooms, the hallways, all collapsed,” Capitano said. “The floors got ruined from the rain. The heater rusted out.”

With no reliable heat source and spotty electricity due to water damage, Capitano says they are still waiting for government assistance and just trying to get by in the meantime.

“It’s been made a lot harder with even bigger obstacles,” he said. “On top of dealing with Covid and my daughter, it’s made it almost impossible lately.”

Kathy Florane lives next to Capitano and his family and has been trying to help in any way she can by picking up supplies and recently buying them a space heater to keep warm.

“I just want to help my neighbors, and I’ve done the best I can,” said Florane.

“She’s an amazing woman,” said Capitano.

“You could never ask for a better neighbor. She’s more like a second mom. Anything she can do to help ... and she’s looked down on by some of the neighbors, too, because she helps us.”

Capitano says on top of everything, he’s also dealt with judgment by some in the community and on social media who believe he isn’t doing enough to provide for his family. But he hopes people will find more compassion.

“I’ll just keep trying,” he said. “Don’t judge people just with the way it looks.

“I’m not a lazy person. I wouldn’t give up. I would never let my kids suffer or be without anything.”

The family is appealing for help with its needed home repairs through a GoFundMe account. If you would like to donate, click here.

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