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St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway: California teen fighting for his future

Serafin Garcia, 18, talks to Eyewitness News anchor Erin Briscoe about his battle with a brain tumor. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Four hours north of Bakersfield is the city of Folsom. A city some say country music icon Johnny Cash put on the map. A city 18-year-old Serafin Garcia calls home.

After graduating from high school, Garcia was making plans for his future.

“My dream is in computer science and engineering,” Garcia said.

He was accepted to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He said everything was going as planned until he got a phone call from his mom while visiting an amusement park.

“She said, 'You have a brain tumor. You have to go home, and you can’t drive. Your friend has to drive you,'” he described.

Garcia said his mom pushed for him to have an MRI before he took off to college after he complained of not feeling well.

“My only symptom was I would have headaches when I stood up," said Garcia. “So, at work, I’d stand up, and I’d get a headache. Even at home, I’d stand up, and I’d get a headache.”

He was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. According to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 250 to 500 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with this cancerous tumor each year.

Instead of boarding a plane for MIT, Garcia and his mom boarding a plane to St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee.

Garcia said the minute he walked through the doors of the hospital, he felt welcome.

“The first thing they did was give me a wristband and immediately showed me around the place. Everyone is super nice,” he said.

St. Jude does its best to make patients and families feel at home. From their treatment to housing, travel and food, no family has to pay a single dime.

“St. Jude is an incredible place,” said Garcia. “They’ve done nothing but help me and my family both accustom to the situation I’m in and help me heal. In just three weeks, I’ve shown signs my cancer is shrinking or disappearing. They’re absolutely incredible, I don’t know what I would do without them.”

Tickets are now available for the 2018 St. Jude Dream Home in Bakersfield. Your support helps those like Serafin who are in the battle of their lives.

Call (800) 385-9134 or visit any Kern Schools Federal Credit Union branch to get your ticket.

The home and other prizes will be given away on April 26 on Eyewitness News.

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