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An Unlikely Friendship

Most Disney movies have a similar story: a princess, a prince, and an evil nemesis to overcome. But some argue that the best Disney movies are the ones that have an unlikely friendship at the forefront.

Debra Ruz of Outreach Health Services, an El Paso homecare agency, first heard about such a case through television station Univision 26 near El Paso, Texas.

12-year-old Heydi Melendez came to the United States on a humanitarian VISA from Samalayuca, Mexico, after her diagnosis of a debilitating disease.

When Ruz first met her, Heydi weighed only 50 lbs. All she wanted to do was go to Disneyworld; however, due to her fragile state, she was too weak to undertake the journey.

Ruz quickly took to social media to tell Heydi’s story to garner support. Since Ruz works full-time for Outreach Health Services, one of her client followers took particular notice of this story.

10-year-old Genevieve Castro, a client of Outreach Health Services for seven years, was so moved by Heydi’s story that she called Ruz to discuss the case. Through her ventilator, Genevieve’s soft voice said that she wanted to help.

“I was overwhelmed,” Ruz said. “The fact that Genevieve wanted to help touched my heart.”

Less than 24 hours later, Reach for a Star El Paso hosted a Disney-themed celebration for Heydi. Not only did Disney princesses Moana, Cinderella, and Anna come to El Paso, but Minnie Mouse and Star Wars characters also helped bring the Disney experience to her!

Genevieve did not take this fantastic opportunity for granted. Since Genevieve had been to Disneyworld before, she attended the party and even gave Heydi all of her own precious Disneyworld treasures.

Hard times will always reveal true friends. Without the girls meeting under challenging circumstances, their unlikely friendship would have never happened.

Once Heydi’s story went public, Hotel Indigo El Paso donated two rooms to Genevieve and Heydi. Totally Spoiled Salon Spa El Paso joined in and gave an entire spa day for the girls, including hair and makeup! Such a unique experience would not have been possible without the generous support of local businesses such as these.

Genevieve also went along with Ruz in taking Heydi to Western Playland amusement park. The park boasts a 50 ft. tall ride called “The Tsunami,” which sprays a 70 ft. high tidal wave onto onlookers. Despite not being physically able to go on any of the amusement park rides, Genevieve went solely to support Heydi.

“I absolutely think God put me where I needed to be because no other job would allow me to do this,” Ruz said.

The reason that Outreach Health Services offers a flexible schedule is precisely for people like Ruz, who make a difference in the local community and help those that need it most.

“It is an honor and pleasure working for Outreach.” Deb Rodriguez, an Outreach field supervisor of El Paso, said. “The fact that this company allows us to reach out into the community and affect the lives of those in need is amazing.”

These young ladies have shown just what “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” means. Unlikely friendships, though not at all uncommon, always bring a little magic to our fairytales.