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Just two weeks after his nineteenth birthday, Gabriel Gutierrez had a tumor removed from his body.

When biopsy results came back, he was faced with a diagnosis of Stage 3 cancer, which had started to spread.

Doctors worked quickly to stop the spread to Gabriel’s brain. Now only a month after his birthday, he was in the ICU, receiving chemotherapy.

Since Gabriel started treatment, his mother, Patricia Solis, had to stop working. Bills, however, kept coming, and she turned to Texans Can Academies, where Gabriel was in his senior year. The school stepped in to help with food, utilities, and rental-assistance referrals. With these resources in place, Gabriel’s family could focus on what was most important: his recovery—and his future.

Over the next few months, Gabriel’s teachers called or texted to ask how he was. His family was assured that, while Gabriel was getting better, he could also still get his diploma. They were there to support him.

“The whole staff at Can is amazing at helping us,” Patricia said.

The family has known Texans Can for some time. Gabriel’s younger sister attends there also, and his older brother, now a student at St. Philip’s College, is a Texans Can graduate.

This May, the same will be true of Gabriel. Thanks to the support he and his family have received from Texans Can, Gabriel can look forward to a new part of his journey. His teachers say his courage has inspired them all.

“He wants to attend college and be a firefighter,” Patricia said.

Gabriel continues to battle his cancer, but his family is hopeful that chemotherapy will soon be behind him. He has much to look forward to.


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