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18-year-old Bryan man fighting Leukemia, diagnosed three times with COVID-19

Gabriel Garcia was diagnosed with Leukemia in November.
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - A Bryan man is fighting for his life as he battles Leukemia in a Houston hospital.

Kathie Mendez says her son Gabriel Garcia, 18, was diagnosed last year after showing symptoms of being very sick.

“It was November 9, and we’re going to the doctor because we thought it was COVID-19,” said Mendez. “They drew blood and noticed his white blood cells were three times more than they are supposed to be.”

After a few more tests, Mendez says her son was officially diagnosed with Leukemia and immediately began treatment at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

A few months earlier, Garcia tested positive for COVID-19 in July, then again in October. After spending time in the hospital, he was diagnosed a third time.

Mendez says living with a son who is immunocompromised in the middle of a pandemic has been difficult. More than ever, she says she just wants to keep him as safe as possible.

“I have to make sure there are not a lot of people around, especially if he is indoors or even going into a store,” said Mendez. “I have to constantly have hand sanitizer and wipes, because I am very, very scared as a mother whose child has cancer, for them to get COVID-19.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people with immunocompromising conditions, like cancer, are more likely to suffer through a severe case of COVID-19.

The single mother of two says watching her son battle this cancer has been absolutely heartbreaking.

“You carry them for nine months, and then longer throughout the years. So just to watch them suffer and fade away, no mother wants to see their kid do that or go through that,” said Mendez.

As Garcia continues to fight, Mendez says doctors do not have a great outlook for his diagnosis.

“We don’t know if he is going to see his next birthday, but if he still has that mindset that he is going to beat it, I believe he will,” said Mendez.

To help with the medical expenses for Garcia, the family has set up a GoFundMe account. To access that, you can click here.

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