Medical expenses

Local restaurant owner turning to community for support

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A restaurant owner in Waterloo, who is dedicated to her food and customers, is now turning to the community for support.

Ethaina Torres had her life turned upside down about a month ago when she was diagnosed with a rare disease.

“Called my family, told them that my platelets were almost gone, I needed transfusions,” Ethaina says. “They think I might have some type of auto-immune disease.”

Ethaina owns Margarita’s Latin Soul Food, located at the Waterloo outlets.

“So mostly I am the heart, soul, I am the cook, the dishwasher, the everything,” Torres says.

One month ago, she woke up with bruises all over.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” she says. “I tried to go to the restaurant, and my family was like, you gotta go to the hospital.”

Her family stepped in to support her.

“We know how she is,” Veronica Vega, Ethaina’s sister, says. “She loves to give more than even receiving. So we know we just have to give it to her.”

Now, Ethaina finds herself struggling with medical bills.

“All of a sudden, you got these medical expenses, and they’re telling me that 14 pills cost $5,000,” she says. “You just got out of the hospital, and they’re already sending you invoices, saying this is your outstanding balance.”

Knowing she will beat this, her family and the community are with her every step of the way.

“They come in, support, leave notes, leave donations, ask about her, text, call,” Vega says. “She’s definitely missed, and we can’t wait to have her back.”

Ethaina was unable to hide a smile when thinking of returning to her kitchen.

“When I do, it’s gonna be slow, and it’s gonna be fun, and I’ll get there,” Ethaina says.

Family and friends of Ethaina have created a Go Fund Me to raise money to cover high but necessary medical expenses.

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