Evelyn Rodriguez was an incredibly selfless, resilient, get-it-done woman who dedicated her life to the devotion of her family, friends, and God. Always doing more for others than she did for herself, she lived for the satisfaction and contentment of those she loved. She was a super mom, and even more super grandma, a loyal friend, a caring sister, a loving daughter, and a supportive wife.
Around December 2018, she began to exhibit symptoms of what we would later find out to be Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), a rapidly degenerative brain disease with no effective treatment or cure. Her life was cruelly and indignantly ended early by this disease, robbing her of a long and fulfilling retirement watching her grandchildren grow up. Our entire family has been devasted by her journey with this illness, that culminated in her taking her last breath on Sunday afternoon, October 17, 2021, in bed, surrounded by her four children, Lisa, Melissa, Theresa, and Michael, and her husband, Miguel. In so many different ways, it's been an incredibly difficult year, but we do appreciate the love, support, well wishes, check-ins, thoughts, and prayers that were sent her away while she was ill, and even after her death.
The CJD Foundation has really helped my family with understanding Evelyn's illness, exploring options on how to best provide for her care, helping manage both her physical and cognitive symptoms, and providing a monthly support group to help us get through this. The foundation also referred Evelyn to the National Prion Disease Pathology and Surveillance Center's CJD research program, where we have one-on-one access to its director, Dr. Brian Appleby, a nationally recognized specialist on the disease.
It is for these reasons that we participated in the CJD Foundation's 2020 Virtual Strides for CJD fundraising event under team Strides for Evelyn. Because of the generosity of family and friends, we were able to raise over $4,000 in her name. Evelyn also decided to donate her brain to research in the hopes of finding a treatment or cure for this monstrous disease. She and we would be honored if, in return for her selfless act, you would support this fundraiser in whatever way you can.
Please donate in honor of her life and in her name through this fundraising page (or contact Theresa for alternative donation options) and spread the word. May her sacrifice and our financial support help contribute to the search for a treatment and cure for those who suffer or will suffer from this and other prion diseases in the future.
If your employer matches donations, please consider requesting a match to complement your personal contribution and help our cause even more.
In the hopes of achieving our goal, I plan to walk in her honor in Culver City, on a path my mom loved to walk on regularly.
Our family appreciates your support during this difficult time, and Evelyn would have really appreciated your prayers on her behalf.