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Toddler recovering from cancer tests positive for COVID-19, expected to recover

Giovani Galvez said as his son Levi got good news about his cancer, he and his mother contracted coronavirus.

FISHERS, Ind. — Giovani Galvez says life has been more than a challenge for his 4-year old son Levi. It’s been a challenge for the entire family. 

“I remember having nightmares, waking up thinking Levi is going to pass away. It was just tragic,” said Galvez.  

In March 2018, Levi was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. 

“We have, for the last two and a half years, pretty much lived on quarantine just because he’s had many times where he’s been immunocompromised,” said Galvez. 

Then came COVID-19. 

“It started getting pretty scary, because we were like, 'What are we going to do and how are we going to keep this infection out of our house?'” said Galvez. 

Galvez works 12-hour shifts in the emergency room and said in order to protect his family, he had to keep his distance.  

“Next thing we know, she starts feeling sick. She starts with a headache and then she started with chills, and I was like, 'you probably have COVID.' And then our son started getting sick,” said Galvez.  

On Sunday, both Levi and his mom tested positive for the virus. 

Galvez said she was unsure how she got it but said it may have happened when someone came too close to her inside of a store.  

“That’s the only time and place that she knew that she was exposed,” said Galvez. 

He said Levi was weak, exhausted and had a fever. 

“He always said 'my legs hurt' or 'my head hurts,'” said Galvez. “I could just tell he really didn’t feel good, man.”  

Those are the reasons why he drives home the importance of wearing masks to help protect the vulnerable.  

“I’ve personally seen 'that’s tragic, that could have been avoided,' but people didn’t take those necessary precautions, and it's tragic," he said. “We suffered so much with him, and there were many times where we felt like we were going to lose him."

But now, their hearts are filled with joy as Levi’s cancer is in remission and he and his mom slowly begin to recover from COVID-19.  

“We don’t always hear good outcomes of everything, and hopefully our story can be shared, and people can listen because we didn’t want to end up in the pediatric ICU, intubated or on ECMO because he’s in total respiratory failure. It’s pretty tragic to be that way,“ said Galvez. 

Galvez said Levi will continue to have follow-ups with his oncologist to make sure he’s doing OK. Levi’s mom is beginning to regain her strength and her sense of smell and taste. They are both expected to be OK. 

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