Coral Bay Community Rallies for Calabash Market Family




Five-year-old Salma Bayatnahis getting treatment for pneumonia in the Miami Children’s Hospital.



CALABASH BOOM — When Calabash Market’s doors were closed unexpectedly one day last week, customers had no idea why the reliably open mini-mart was shuttered in the middle of the afternoon.

As soon as those customers and others heard why owners Mamoun Bayatnah, known to all as Ali, and his wife Mercedes Zapata, called Maria by many, were forced to close for the afternoon, the community quickly rallied to help.

The market is now open, yet Bayatnah and Zapata are at Miami Children’s Hospital with their five-year-old daughter Salma. The kindergartner was suffering from a severe case of pneumonia last week when one of her lungs stopped working.

After being told there was nothing more that could be done at the R.L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas for the child, the family took an air ambulance to Florida on Thursday night, November 20, to admit Salma to Miami Children’s Hospital.

Salma’s condition seemed to be improving in Miami, yet there was no prognosis as of press time. With medical bills beginning to pile up, Leah Randall launched a GoFundMe site to help the Bayatnah and Zapata family.

After sharing the site on social media, more than $5,000 was donated by 76 people in a single day at The fundraising goal is $10,000 and every little bit will help, according to the website.

“While Ali and Maria are doing their best with the expenses we know how this will be skyrocketing in costs,” according to the GoFundMe site. “Please donate what you can — no amount is too small — to help this amazing family we love so much and keep them in your prayers.”

To donate to the Bayatnah and Zapata family, go to