She Loves Shoes and Fashion … but This Medical Miracle “Diva” is not Your Typical Teenager

May 03, 2012

2012 Gala to honor teenage girl, survivor of rare tumor growing inside her liver

BACKGROUND: “Mama, am I going to die?” That was the question Valeria Garcia, a 14-year-old Brownsville girl, asked her mother after her first CT Scan. She saw the look on the doctor’s face giving her family the results. Despite being active in sports, she’d been noticing her stomach getting larger. On February of 2009, the intense pain became unbearable. Her mother took her to see a doctor, and then almost immediately, to the CAT scanner at a hospital near their Brownsville home.

Doctors found a non-malignant, five-pound tumor in her ovary. It was removed and she thought the worst was over, but it was only the beginning. New tumors were found every couple months and she was running out of options.

After doctors in Houston sent her home because surgery was too risky, her last hope was a referral to Dr. Jose Almeda, a surgeon at the University Transplant Center who specializes in complicated liver tumors. He successfully removed the tumor which was the size of a basketball, and 75 percent of her liver.

Valeria has had a full recovery and is home enjoying life to its fullest. She is in the top five percent of her high school class with plans to go on to college and law school.

WHO: Valeria Garcia, 2012 Medical Miracle Honoree
Her grateful family and her University Hospital care team, including Dr. Jose Almeda, a member of the University Transplant Center and surgeon at UT Medicine San Antonio.

WHAT: 2012 Medical Miracles Gala

WHEN: Thursday, May 3, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Grand Hyatt Hotel San Antonio – Texas Ballroom 4th floor – 600 East Market Street