LAREDO, Texas – A Laredo teen who has cancer and is in a Houston hospital said having Carlos Correa dedicate Sunday’s home run to him was a magical moment.
Jalen Garcia, 16, has osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. He’s been at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital for two months and, last Friday, he received his best visit yet. Garcia was surprised by Astros shortstop Carlos Correa and the baseball player’s girlfriend, Daniella Rodriguez.
“I was shocked when I saw him. I didn’t know what to do or what to say,” Garcia said.
The teen, who attended the same high school as Rodriguez, said Correa brought him Astros gear, motivated him and made him a promise.
“The deal was he hits a homer for me and dedicates it to me and my part of the deal was: Get out of here and fight and do my part of the deal,” Garcia said.
Garcia said he was watching Game 2 of the ALCS and waiting for the homerun, which came at the end of the game.
“He had told me to look out when he points up in the air, starts running around the bases and he did exactly that,” he said.
Garcia’s mother, Paula Diaz said it’s been a magical week for her son, who has had a rough several months with the disease.
“Just being in a hospital just kind of drags on and all this magic just kind of lifted him up, and he needed all the encouragement," she said.
Diaz said her love for Correa and the Astros grew this week.
“You see their persona as a sports athlete and to see them in a moment like this and showing their positivity to a young child battling a disease this way, it’s just heartwarming,” Diaz said. “And you just love that person even more.”
Garcia said he hopes the Astros will make it to the World Series. In the meantime, he said it’s his turn to fulfill his promise to Correa -- to get out of the hospital.