Houston boy battling cancer after escaping Hurricane Harvey
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – As Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston, 9-year-old Steven Garay had a medical breakdown. Just days after the storm hit their home, his family would learn their son had a very rare cancer.
Sometimes in the worst possible moment, your entire world comes crashing down.
"I'm losing my son. I'm losing my son," said Jennifer Ramirez.
Her son, Steven, had a triple organ transplant in Nebraska when he was just two years old. That was seven years ago.
He had no problems until two days after Hurricane Harvey hit. He went downhill fast.
"Called the ambulance. They could only get so far," said Steven's grandma, Reynolda Davis.
When the ambulance could go no further, a medical rescue team stepped in.
"Then the Army had to come and send a convoy to get him and take him all the way to the hospital," said Davis.
As the waters rose around them, the family says they knew this was the only chance to save their son.
"We only live about 15 minutes from the hospital and it took us nearly two and a half hours to get there," said Jennifer.
Once there, doctors decided Steven needed to be flown to Nebraska Medical Center, where he had his transplant years ago.
"I don't think if we wouldn't have made it out of Houston he would be here with us still," his mom said.
Once here, Steven's family was dealt a devastating blow. Their son has PTLD, an extremely rare cancer.
"It's all here, running down his heart, liver, stomach, bones, ankles, knees," said Jennifer.
His family was told he may not make it through the weekend. As he fights for his life, his family put his favorite player J.J. Watt's jersey on their son. They say he has been a hero to so many during this storm.
"Steven's dream would be to meet him," his mom and dad said.
Steven's brother and sister also are in Omaha with his family. They are renting a room at Nebraska Medicine.
There are two twin beds, and they are sharing an air mattress to be close to his side.
"We left and we left with nothing," said Jessica.
She said Lifegate Church has offered to do a meal train. If anyone wants to help, Jennifer said, she could really use clothes for her two children. She isn't worried about anyone but her three kids.
Despite a storm nearly destroying their city and their son now battling cancer, the family still feels blessed.
"Doctors at Nebraska Medical Center have saved our son's life twice. We are so thankful to all of the rescue teams who braved the storm to get our son to the hospital," Steven Garay, Steven's father, said.
Also, if you would like to donate clothing for the children, here are the sizes:
- JAYVEN, AGE 4: Wears a 4T, Shoes 12
- STEVEN, AGE 9: Wears size 7-8, Shoes 8
- NAOMI, AGE 14: Wears size 5 on bottoms, top: Medium
Since Steven's immune system is compromised, new and unused clothes donations are suggested. If you would like to donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org. She will get them to the family.
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