CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In June of last year, doctors found a tumor in the neck of Christian Garcia.
A later test discovered the cancer had spread throughout his body, and he was diagnosed with stage four embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma.
“It was a lot scary,” the now seven-year-old Christian said. “I had to go through treatment and chemo.”
“It’s shocking,” said Christian’s mother, Marisa Garcia. “It’s not just one thing that you see, you pull back the curtain and it’s all this cancer.”
Thankfully, being from the Houston area, the family had great treatment locally available. Christian was treated at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Christian’s parents describe the last year as "chaotic," but said Christian’s strength and energy helped them through it.
“We were very blessed because Christian just had that energy and that spirit. If anything, he helped us,” Marisa Garcia said.
“He just shined through it, and it helped us,” said Ruben Garcia, Christian’s father.
Throughout the process, Marisa and Ruben explained everything to Christian, so he knew what to expect in his recovery process.
“We navigated through it with faith, strength. We talked with Christian through every step so he wouldn’t be in the dark, to know what’s coming, and that’s what allowed him to be that strong, because it wasn’t a surprise to him,” Ruben Garcia said.
In September, doctors declared Christian cancer-free.
“The oncologist himself declared it a miracle,” Marisa Garcia said.
The Garcias said they believe God played a large part in Christian’s recovery, and said it couldn’t have been possible without all the organizations who helped them along the way.
Christian’s last cancer treatment is scheduled for May 23.
“I get to ring the bell on May 23,” Christian Garcia said.
“It’s going to be a huge celebration because of the glory of God that he did in ten weeks of his healing,” Ruben Garcia said. “Miracles are still being done to this day.”
Christian is already back in school, but still taking trips to the hospital.
His father said he is looking forward to getting back to a normal life.
“It’s no longer the normal of the hospital visits, and just getting the normal life back for us, for our children. It’s such a blessing to get that back,” Ruben Garcia said. “Cancer will flip your life upside down, where you don’t know which way is up.”
Christian has advice to other kids facing cancer treatment.
“To be brave, be strong, believe in God,” he said.
On Friday, Christian was on of James’ Wingmen for the Triumph Over Kid Cancer Foundation golf fundraising event.
The 15th annual event was held at the Gabe Lozano Golf Center in Corpus Christi. The money raised by the event is split between MD Anderson and Texas Children’s Hospital.
Over the last 15 years, TOKC has raised more than $4 million for the hospitals.
Mecklin Ragan M.D. is the co-founder of TOKC with her brother James. She talked about the importance of the event for the kids battling cancer and their families.
“The entire community learns that it’s not just adults who get cancer, kids get cancer, too, and they should never have to deal with the things they face,” she said. “So, for those families to see people out here acknowledging that their kids have cancer, doing something to help, they feel the love and support from the community.”