ENCINITAS — A beloved custodian at Park Dale Lane Elementary School is said to be back home and adjusting to a new way of life after he had to get part of his leg amputated after being bitten on the foot by a poisonous spider at the school.
Guil Aguilar was bitten just before Thanksgiving Break.
A friend of Aguilar’s, Mim Michelove, said Dec. 19 that she was “truly stunned and physically shaken to learn about his ordeal” and had visited him in the hospital in Encinitas.
“I had a lovely visit with Guil in the hospital, and was lucky to meet one of his doctors who — not surprisingly — spoke very highly about his positive and resilient attitude as he accepted his amputation, practiced maneuvering in a wheelchair, and began to re-learn how to balance,” Michelove said.
According to reports, Aguilar saw spiders when he was moving trash cans near a dumpster at the school but didn’t think anything of it. A short time later he felt a twinge in his foot. Aguilar and his family spent Thanksgiving with relatives in Arizona and while there his bite began to swell.
The reports say he first went to a hospital there and then was transferred to an Encinitas hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with an infection from a venomous spider bite. The infection resulted in the amputation of his foot and partial leg.
The type of spider that bit Aguilar is not known.
A GoFundMe page for Aguilar was created by Melissa Scharbarth on Dec. 4. Scharbarth wrote on the page that Aguilar is the primary provider for his family and will be out of work until further notice.
“Please consider making a sizable donation to Guil,” she wrote.
As of Dec. 20, the campaign has received donations from more than 360 people and raised nearly $23,000 of its $25,000 goal.
“Hi Guil. Thinking of you and keeping you and your family close in thought and prayer as you heal,” wrote Laura Peña, who donated on the GoFundMe site. “I always enjoyed our many chats as you came through each classroom at the end of the school day. I know you to be a strong, kind, and helpful man! Hold on to that strength as you get through this time. Best wishes as you recover.”
Karie and Chris Galindo also donated to the fund and sent their best wishes to Aguilar.
“You have helped our daughter and so many teachers with their classrooms and always with pride and dedication … we wish you and your family so much love and comfort and stay positive thru (sic) your recovery!” they wrote.
Michelove, who describes Aguilar as “a sweet, gentle soul, and always ready to help” said she also donated to the fund and took him and his family a homecooked meal.
“Nothing communicates love like a delicious, healthy meal, so I was happy to bring a homemade meal to Guil and his family,” she said. “I plan to bring the family more meals to help alleviate some daily responsibilities and allow them more time together to heal and to move into a reimagined future.”
On the GoFundMe page, Scharbarth thanked everyone who has donated for their support.
“Guil’s family is beyond thankful and so blown away by all the comments and donations from our community,” she wrote.
Tawny McCray is a native San Diegan and graduate of San Diego State University. She has known she wanted to be a journalist since writing for her Jr. High School newspaper in 1991. She has worked at The Star News in Chula Vista, The San Diego Union Tribune and ABC 10News San Diego. She has recently freelanced for Scripps Ranch News and The Poway Eagle and is a longtime freelancer with creators.com. She is working on authoring books with her twin sister, Nyla. She and her husband have two kids and live in South Park.