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Former patient uses 'wish' to give back to future patients at St. Louis Children's Hospital

When he got a call from Make-A-Wish, Jorge Garza didn't want to use his wish to go to Disneyworld. He used it to help current and future patients.

ST. LOUIS — About two hours north of St. Louis is Arcola, Illinois, home to about 3,000 people.

But it's often in small towns that you can find big hearts.

Jorge Garza is a 20-year-old college student and an athlete.

"I played soccer and then I started playing football in high school," he said.

He loved the physical contact until he was tackled by an unscheduled opponent.

"I had noticed when I turned to my left, to my left mostly, I felt a pain in my neck.

When Jorge was 17, he was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.

"It is a cancer of the lymph nodes that requires a chemotherapy-radiation combination," Dr. Shalini Shenoy of St. Louis Children's Hospital said.

The treatment at St. Louis Children's Hospital was challenging and often painful. But Jorge said he was inspired by his family and some of his fellow patients.

"At first, I kind of felt bad for myself," Garza said. "I was angry at the world, I guess. But I noticed kids younger than me there and I'd imagine what they were going through."

After months of agony and frustration came celebration.  He got to ring the bell signaling the end of his treatment.

"Everybody has their up days and their down days when they're not feeling very good, but he was a trooper," said Dr. Shenoy.

Back home, he couldn't stop thinking about those younger kids back at the hospital. So when Make-A-Wish granted him a wish before his 18th birthday, Jorge did not say, "I'm going to Disneyworld."  Instead, he donated a video gaming system to Children's Hospital, which was recently delivered for patients and future patients to use.

"I was blessed with this opportunity by Make-A-Wish to give back and I felt like it was the right thing to do," he said.

The prognosis is excellent for Jorge and he said his past is now a present.

"I definitely don't take life or anything for granted now," he said. "You know, anything can change within a minute"

Jorge Garza; one young man who refused to give up and then decided to give back.

"I think that tells you what a gem of a person he is it it it just makes your heart warm," Dr. Shenoy said.

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