OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A little boy hundreds of miles from home has assembled thousands of supporters in Nebraska. Two days after Hurricane Harvey ripped through Houston, Steven Garay’s family found themselves in a medical emergency. The 9-year-old learned he had a very rare cancer.
Steven had a triple-organ transplant seven years ago in Nebraska and did great. He had no problems until after Hurricane Harvey hit. It took an ambulance, a medical rescue team and even members of the U.S. Army to get Steven to the hospital safely.
Malorie: "Then what truck showed up?
Steven: “The Army.”
Malorie: “How big was it?
A life-flight and a private plane helped bring Steven to Nebraska Medical Center for treatment.
"All the prayers everybody is saying is just very, very powerful. Very powerful,” said Jennifer Ramirez, Steven's mom.
The black spots on his x-ray show he has cancer all over his body. It's is a hard diagnosis for anyone, but especially hard to hear as a child. Through all of this, Steven has never lost his smile. He's now out of intensive care.
"I'm feeling more love now here than I have felt anywhere else,” said Jennifer.
After our sister station WOWT 6 News first shared Steven's story, donations started pouring in. From Steven's new shoes and his brother Jayven got a pair, too.
Malorie: "What do new shoes make you do?
Jayven: “Run Fast."
These boys have spent nearly all their time in the hospital, where they play and still have a little sibling rivalry.
The family plans to stay here for a few more months while Steven's fight continues. They enrolled their daughter Naomi in high school.
"She was scared and excited at the same time,” said Jennifer.
The family is working to make their kids feel at home in Nebraska for a while. They know as they walk through this together they aren't the only ones holding on to hope for their son.
"I'm very, very grateful and thankful to everyone,” said Jennifer.
Steven's favorite player is JJ Watt of the Houston Texans. WOWT 6 News sent his story to JJ'S media team, in hopes he would call the family but they have yet to hear back.
A WOWT 6 News viewer saw evening anchor Malorie Maddox’s Facebook post and purchased a Houston Texans blanket for Steven to keep him warm.