Friends help family celebrate quinceañera despite robbery

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This is a smile an entire community helped make possible.

"I feel really blessed because we are not in this alone. We have other people helping us," said Heidi Perez.

Heidi, 14, poured out her heart expressing her concern for her father, who had been robbed of the money he was planning to use for her quinceañera, or 15th birthday party.

Social media, radio, activists caught wind of her story and went to work.

► East Memphis father robbed of money for daughter's quinceañera

"A quinceañera is a really symbolic thing," said community activist Jose Salazar. "I know the struggles the families go through to save money to throw a big party."

Salazar says he turned to Facebook right away to share the family's story, and the support is still coming in.

"The thing that touches me the most is I know how it is to work outside and I know the sacrifices he has to make and it gets to me and if I can do something to help I will," Salazar said.

On Wednesday WREG introduced you to Juan Sanchez, who has been working long hours trying to earn the $2,000 needed for Saturday's celebration. At the time the fiesta didn't seem likely.

Despite the robbery, the teenager will still get to celebrate the milestone birthday that means so much in the Latino community.

"I feel blessed. Blessed from God," said Sanchez's wife, Flora Sanchez, crying as she told WREG this is a scary time for the Latino community.

But she's grateful for such a happy ending. Sanchez is a man of few words, but he's filled with much gratitude.

"Thank you, thank you for the support," he said.

And even though it all ends well for this family, they say they are praying for the men who took from them.

"We also ask for those people. I ask God that they stop robbing people. People work so hard for them to just take it."

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