Spring teen who battled cancer gets a surprise homecoming fit for a hero

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter, Kayla Lyons, Jade Myers

SPRING, Texas - A Spring teen was surprised with a grand homecoming after battling cancer and receiving extensive treatment including a bone marrow transplant at a hospital.

Klein Cain High school football player Jacob Munoz was diagnosed with Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a rare aggressive form of cancer, in 2015. 

Ten months after being told he was cancer free, Jacob and his family were told that the cancer had come back, more aggressive than before. Jacob's oncologist told his family that platelets are the first to be affected in a disease relapse and that his platelets had dropped by 20 in two days. 

"It took 11 rounds of chemo and on that 11th round, they said there were no more chemo options available, and so I cried out to everyone -- I begged for prayers," said Jacob's mother, Yvette Munoz.

After hearing Jacob was in need of a bone marrow transplant, and younger brother Christian Munoz was a perfect match, Yvette set up a "GoFundMe" account for people who wanted to help cover medical expenses while she was out of work to care for Jacob full-time care. 

"Both of my brothers are the strongest humans that I have ever met; it's amazing to see where we came from to where we are now," said Jacob's sister, Miranda Munoz.

Since the procedure, Jacob has made a recovery and is now cancer free. 

"I am so relieved. It's like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders," said Jacob's grandmother, Dolores Mundhenk. "They can finally be a family again."

After receiving his cancer-free diagnosis, Jacob made his way home in Spring to a surprise celebration fit for a hero. 

"I wanted Jacob to have a hero's welcome, so all these Patriot Guard Riders, and Rolling Thunder and Deacons of Deadwood -- they wanted to all come, too. It was God's will and God's way," said organizer Cheryl Whitfield.

The Texas Army National Guard of Deadwood, Houston Police Department and Klein Fire Department were few of many that also escorted Jacob to his home from the hospital.

"It's been a long road and it's a long road ahead, but I know he's going to do it," Jacob's grandmother said. "We're just so proud of how hard he fought, he's a fighter, he's courageous, brave and he's my grandbaby.

His story, which was followed by hundreds of people online, inspired many people who did not know him.

"The strength that this child had was beyond anything I could ever imagine," said Charlotte Baker, holding a "#JacobStrong" sign she had made.

People from all over the community, cheerleaders from Klein Cain High School, the high school football team, Constable Precinct 4 representatives and more were cheering when Jacob made his way to his home after leaving his escort. 

"Jacob wasn't feeling well because of the heat and had to go inside. He will probably come out in a bit," Yvette said when she addressed the hundreds of people in the crowd who attended the homecoming. "You are all a part of our fight. You are all a part of our family. We are so grateful."

The family said Jacob is taking things slow. They are taking everything one day at a time.

"He inspires me to be a stronger person," Yvette said.

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