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|Cristina Honors Special Fathers and Makes Their Dreams a Reality during ''Sonando Contigo''|
MIAMI, Jun 12, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Veteran TV host Cristina Saralegui continued her quest to make dreams come true for deserving Hispanic families during a special Father's Day version of her "Sonando Contigo" Univision show. The episode, which aired Monday, June 11, featured the story of two hardworking fathers who have made extreme sacrifices and efforts to provide for their families. Cristina called upon her celebrity friends such as international soccer player Hugo Sanchez, soap opera star Cesar Evora, acclaimed singer Jose Feliciano, along with Washington Mutual to help make their dreams a reality.
"I am really happy to count on my personal friends like Cesar Evora, Hugo Sanchez and Jose Feliciano in order to make the dreams of these special fathers come true," said Cristina Saralegui, Hispanic TV host. "This could not have happened without the help of WaMu and their continuous support and commitment to the Hispanic community."
The first segment story focused on the life of Jorge Grijalva, a 48 year-old Mexican-American from Houston who has been married for 29 years and who has five children. After being diagnosed with cancer, Jorge was forced to stop working. His wife quit her job in order to care for him. The family almost lost everything because they couldn't pay for living expenses. After continuous cancer treatment, Jorge recovered from his illness and got a second chance at life. He decided to take the opportunity and enjoy his passion - the sport of soccer. Jorge has been playing soccer all his life and his dream was once to be a professional soccer player. One of the activities that kept him close to this sport was coaching his youngest daughter's soccer team and helping with fundraising activities such as bake sales and raffles to buy uniforms and equipment for the team. Jorge is an inspiration and idol not only to his children but to the soccer team he coaches.
In an effort to make Jorge's biggest dream come true, WaMu flew him and his wife to Mexico where he had the opportunity to meet his idol Hugo Sanchez, a famous soccer player and current coach of the Mexico national football team. During his appearance on the Sonando Contigo show, Jorge also received soccer uniforms and equipment for his daughter's team valued at $700 and a $6,000 WaMu debit card which he can use to plan the honeymoon of his dreams which he never had.
"Meeting Hugo Sanchez was a once in a lifetime experience and my childhood dream and I can't thank Cristina and WaMu enough for making this possible," said Jorge Grijalva, 'Sonando Contigo' guest and hardworking father. "My wife and I feel extremely blessed and happy that we will be able to finally have the honeymoon that we never had, this is definitely the best Father's Day one could ever have."
The second story of the show focused on the life of Roberto Plaza, a 39 year-old single father of three from New Jersey. Roberto has a 13-year-old son and 12-year-old twin daughters, one of who was severely beaten by her mother when she was only 5 months old. As a result, she suffers from several medical conditions and needs constant care. After his divorce, Roberto's mother moved from Puerto Rico to New York to help her son raise his three children. Roberto contacted Cristina to help him honor his mother for all of her efforts and sacrifices. Cristina believed it is Roberto who deserves the recognition because he has given his life to taking care of his children by working odd jobs and walking 45 minutes to the nearest grocery store to buy food for his family because he doesn't have a car.
Roberto wanted his mother to meet her biggest idol, soap opera star Cesar Evora. Being one of Cristina's personal friends, Cesar agreed to spend an entire day with her. Cesar flew to New York, picked her up in a limousine, provided her with a complete makeover and treated her to lunch. During his appearance on the show, Cesar Evora presented Roberto with a very special surprise from WaMu - a $10,000 check, which he can use towards buying the car that he desperately needs, along with a $1,000 WaMu debit card for gas and other living expenses.
"I was very surprised to see that Cristina and WaMu honored not only my mother's dreams but also helped me financially so that I could buy a car," said Roberto Plaza, 'Sonando Contigo' guest and hardworking father. "With my new car I will be able to drive all my children to school, pick up groceries and hopefully find a better paying job."
"WaMu's commitment to our communities where we do business is to take part in issues that matter to our customers and our employees," said Ricardo Torres-Diaz, a store manager at WaMu who appeared on the show to present WaMu's gifts. "Being able to help these families demonstrates just one way we are actively engaged to do good work."
In addition to these two stories, "Sonando Contigo" also touched the hearts of three other Hispanic families. Some of the dreams that were realized with the help of Cristina's network of guardian angels included a couple's wish to renew their wedding vows in front of their daughters in Las Vegas before the father left to Iraq for the third time; a blind father's dream to meet his idol, singer Jose Feliciano; and a Cuban Political Prisoner who's dream was to be able to afford new shoes for his oldest son and provide the necessary financial support for his wife and new baby.
WaMu, through its subsidiaries, is one of the nation's leading consumer and small business banks. At March 31, 2007, WaMu and its subsidiaries had assets of $319.99 billion. The company has a history dating back to 1889 and its subsidiary banks currently operate nearly 2,700 consumer and small business banking stores throughout the nation. WaMu's press releases are available at http://newsroom.wamu.com.
About Univision Communications Inc.
Univision Communications Inc. is the premier Spanish-language media company in the United States. Our powerhouse portfolio includes Television, Radio, Music and Internet offerings that entertain and inform more Hispanics each day than any other media company in the country. Our television operations include the Univision Network, TeleFutura Network, Galavision, Univision and TeleFutura Television Groups. Univision also owns and operates Univision Radio, Univision Music Group and Univision Online. Univision holds a 50% interest in TuTv, a joint venture formed to broadcast Televisa's pay television channels in the U.S., and a non-voting minority interest in Entravision Communications Corporation, a public Spanish-language media company.
SOURCE: Washington Mutual