It took just 24 hours for a Minnesota family's dream vacation to turn into a nightmare.
Emmee and Celso Lopez had waited for years to visit Costa Rica, but when it finally happened they were almost immediately beset by bad luck that has left them stranded in Central America.
The family-of-four from Lake City had plans to hit the beaches, national parks, museums and more, but last Wednesday, July 11 – a day after they landed – their 3-year-old son Axel fell while playing and broke his femur.
He was rushed to hospital, where they waited for six hours for an operation, and is now in a cast, forced to lie flat all day as he recovers from his injury.
Because he's unable to sit up, that also means that he's not able to travel on a commercial flight, and with his cast not due to come off until mid-August at the earliest, it's left the family stuck in Costa Rica.
Emmee, Celso, Axel and their 1-year-old son Giovanni are staying with friends Lopez met while studying abroad, but their costs are mounting and they're also missing work.
They've looked into a medical air transport to get them home, but that would cost them $42,000 and, since they didn't get travel insurance, it has led Lopez to create a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise enough money to allow them to fly home as soon as possible.
As of Wednesday, the page has raised more than $18,000 towards the $42,000 target with Emmee telling BMTN she has been overwhelmed by the response.
"I just want to say from the bottom of our hearts to all the wonderful people," she said.
"We are doing okay ... very tired," she said on Wednesday morning. "We're having to provide constant 24/7 care with Axel. He doesn’t want me to leave the room. Plus with an almost 2 year old we are very cooped up.
"We have been inside this small house for a week now, no air, hot and just really want to go home."
You can help the family out by visiting their GoFundMe page here.