Broward firefighters recognize teen caring for mother with kidney failure

(WSVN) - A 13-year-old girl has stolen the hearts of some Broward County firefighters. This is a child who is the primary caretaker for her mother, who is very sick. But it goes beyond that. This 13-year-old has inspired an entire community with her story of hope over hardship. Rosh Lowe has the story in The Lowedown.

Emma Gonzalez, mom’s caretaker: “I do it to help her. I do it to keep her alive.”

Thirteen-year-old Emma Gonzalez is her mother’s angel.

Donna Thomas, Emma’s mother: “I’d be lost without her. I would.”

Her mom, Donna, is in the hospital with kidney failure. Video shot by a family member shows Emma’s dedication to caring for her mom.

Emma Gonzalez: “I care for her more than anything. I don’t want to trade, there’s no deal that you can make me.”

Rosh Lowe: “It’s real love.”

Emma Gonzalez: “I love my mom.”

This is love at its highest level. An eighth-grader who is Mom’s primary caretaker.

Capt. Mike Bufalo, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue: “I think we have taken her mom, that I know of, at least four times to the hospital.”

And it’s captured the heart of Captain Mike Bufalo with Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue.

Capt. Mike Bufalo: “She’s just a good kid. You know, just having two kids of my own, you hope that you raise your kids to be as good a kid as she is.”

Emma’s life changed two years ago when she lost her father. Her mom, she says, went into a deep depression. Her health failed, and then she wound up in this bed. It’s a bed set up in the middle of a small apartment. Emma’s mom can barely move in this apartment, and Emma does almost everything for her.”

And that means making breakfast in the morning, doing the laundry, getting medication, cleaning the house and then getting to school.

Emma’s story touched these firefighters so much that they rallied together and raised their own money to give Emma a special surprise.

Capt. Mike Bufalo: “What we decided to do for her was take her shopping, take her out on a little shopping spree.”

On this day we are there as they take her to Target.

And the first thing she does is get a computer for school. She is an eighth-grader who dreams about becoming a nurse. She’s a natural born caretaker.

In Emma’s apartment, there’s a sign on the door that reads “Hope.”

Emma Gonzalez: “I have good hope in my mom that she’s gonna get through this.”

Emma has recently reconnected with family.

Leslie Thomas, Emma’s aunt: “We got the paperwork done, so if God forbid something does happen to her, I get this one.”

But Emma’s greatest prayer is that her mom makes it.

Emma Gonzalez: “I have the biggest smile on my face. That’s just how I get through.”

And she goes through everyday with that smile. Emma can teach us all a lesson in holding on to hope.

If you want to help Emma, a fund has been set up by Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue. If you would like to make a donation, click here.

In Hallandale Beach, Rosh Lowe 7News.

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