Senior waits, hopes for citizenship, knee surgery
Never give up on your dream.
The phrase has motivated many and has sustained María González Bolaños.
For most of her life, Bolaños dreamt of leaving Cuba to find a better life in the United States. But with the birth of each of her nine children, it was a dream that seemed to dissipate more for the single mom and cook. But true to the motto, she never gave up.
At the age of 60, Bolaños had the courage to leave Cuba. She landed in Miami and as an exile quickly became a legal resident.
Bolaños, now 71, is part of the Austin AmericanStatesman’s Season for Caring campaign, which helps 12 featured families and hundreds of others through local nonprofit agencies. Bolaños was nominated by Family Eldercare.
“Oh, the treasures I left behind,” she said, referring to her nine children, 16 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
Since her arrival to this country more than a decade ago, Bolaños has overcome much adversity, including living in shelters for several years. She finally found affordable housing in Austin.
Her troubles were not over. She has two degenerated knees and recently had surgery on one knee. Before she could have the procedure on the other knee, she learned she no longer had medical or living assistance benefits. An oversight in her citizen process took the benefits away.
Since March, Bolaños has relied exclusively on a $62 monthly income check, food from Meals on Wheels and More and subsidized housing.
Now, working with immigration attorney Cristina Zambrano, Bolaños is on the path to becoming a citizen, but it could take a while.
Until then, Bolaños is unable to walk and is mostly bedridden. A glimmer of hope came this week. An office of orthopedic surgeons is considering doing the surgery. They are reviewing her medical records and