Team Gleason to FEMA: Help Puerto Rican ALS patient

Team Gleason helping man displaced by Maria (1-19-18)

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Steve Gleason and his non-profit are desperately trying to keep a roof over an ALS patient's head who had to leave Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

Carmelo Diaz has lived with ALS for close to three decades. After the hurricane knocked out most of the island's power Diaz like so many was not able to get consistent power to his home. Power he needs to run the equipment keeping him alive.

Gleason and his team were able to get Diaz and his wife to New Orleans to continue his care. Now they are having trouble getting help from FEMA to keep him there. He has been able to stay in New Orleans with the help of Team Gleason and they have been fighting on his behalf.

Diaz and his wife who is also his full-time caregiver have been staying in an apartment in New Orleans. Gleason and a Team Gleason board member told CBS News Correspondent David Begnaud they have until the end of the month to find Diaz another place to stay.

“It is absolutely not safe for Carmelo to return to Puerto Rico the infrastructure of the island will not possibly support him,” Gleason said. 

They explained they were having a difficult time getting money from FEMA to get an apartment.

"Our team has been through every possible scenario, options with FEMA. And we have exhausted ourselves, but so far we have not been able to find the solution," Gleason explained. 

One solution FEMA had was putting Diaz in a hotel, but Team Gleason leaders worry a hotel room will not accommodate Diaz's medical needs.

"It's quite possibly one of the worst scenarios for somebody in Mr. Diaz's situation," Clare Durrett, with Team Gleason, said. 

Gleason and his team understand FEMA has a tremendous amount of people to help, but they hope for Diaz's sake they can find a way to keep him safe and comfortable as he continues the fight.  

"What we are asking right now is, we're asking FEMA to think outside of the box when it comes to solutions for our most vulnerable American citizens," Gleason said. 

Diaz's family has an online fundraiser to help repair their home while they are in New Orleans.

© 2018 KREM-TV


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