Raul Guale Jr. spent his life helping others. As a nurse. As a father. As a husband. As a brother. As a friend.
So when the sad word spread that Guale had died at age 34 of complications from COVID-19, the people he had helped — and some he perhaps had never met — got together to help his widow and two daughters.
The response has been, in a word, remarkable.
A GoFundMe fundraising page with the hashtag “GUALESTRONG” was opened with an initial goal of $10,000.
It raised nearly eight times that: a total of $79,588 from 497 individual donations for the family of Guale, a West Sayville resident who worked at The Bristal Assisted Living at Sayville.
“We were so shocked,” said Raul’s sister, Shirley Guale, of Middle Island. “It’s so good because it’s going to help out my sister-in-law with the girls. It’s going to help tremendously."
Guale’s story drew attention in early May when his family’s quest to get him approved for treatment with the experimental drug Remdesivir was featured on local media such as News12 Long Island. The FDA had approved emergency use of the drug on May 1. Guale eventually was given Remdesivir as part of his treatment, but he died on May 10.
“My brother was a good guy,” Shirley said. “I know he had a friend, and he was like, ‘He’s going to have a baby. He needs a crib.’ He went and got him a crib for the baby. That’s just the kind of guy he was. When somebody wanted something or needed something, he was just there. If somebody needed help moving, he would contact me and be like, ‘Shirley, can you help? I’d be like, ‘OK, let’s go.’ He was just there and just ready to help everybody."
In addition to his sister Shirley, Guale is survived by his wife, Marissa Piscitelli Guale, a nurse at Affinity Skilled Living in Oakdale; his 16-year-old daughter Jasmine and 2-year-old daughter Aubree; his mother Nancy Guale of Middle Island; his sister Michele Guale-Torres of Holbrook; his father Raúl Gaule Sr. of Kissimmee, Florida; and his half-sister Sarah Hernandez of Houston.
“He was a family-oriented man,” Shirley said. “Every single second he could, he would spend time with his daughters, his wife and us. He was very dedicated to the nursing field. He loved what he did. He was just a good man.”
Services were private. The family hopes to hold a celebration of his life in the future.