Family faces foreclosure after daughter gets cancer

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MESA -- Tough times are hitting one Valley family hard. They are very close to losing their home to foreclosure so they contacted 3 On Your Side.

Foreclosures seem like an epidemic here in Arizona.

An account has been established for Rosie Garcia. If you wish to help, you can go to any Wells Fargo Bank and donate under The Rosalena Garcia Donation Fund.

People get a bad loan that adjusts sharply or maybe they took too much "cash" out of their home and now they just can't pay it back.

But for the Garcia family in Mesa, that is certainly not the case at all. They have a unique and somewhat rare situation and contacted 3 On Your Side for help.

Three years ago, Rosie Garcia was your typical 15-year-old girl. She was just beginning high school, interested in the track team and excited to be starting a new chapter in her life.

"I did track, my friends were around more and, I mean, I was just an average 15-year-old," Rosie said.

Then tragedy struck.

"I got sick and my world turned upside down," she said. "I've had to grow up fast."

Rosie and her mom, Jackie, said it came on sudden and without warning.

"I was actually at school," Rosie said. "I fell in the mud and I went to the nurse and my back started to hurt."

And once she got home, her backache got worse.

"I looked up and all of a sudden her whole right side was moving -- her arm, her face was twitching," Jackie said.

Jackie rushed her daughter to the emergency room where they ran several tests. It was then they got the news from the doctor that would change their lives forever.

"He goes, 'Your daughter has two golf ball-sized tumors side by side on her brain stem," Jackie said. "My legs collapsed."

Further tests confirmed that Rosie had stage 3 terminal brain cancer.

The doctor said Rosie had about two months.

"The doctor said, basically, 'Take her home, get her comfortable," Rosie said.

But Rosie and her family wouldn't accept that answer. So against all odds she underwent brain surgery to try and remove some of the tumor.

She made it through surgery but still didn't get the news they wanted to hear.

"They gave me three years," Rosie said.

"I basically told her, 'Baby, you've got to get tough. Do you want to live? Are you going to win or do you want the tumor to win?" Jackie said.

So for the past three years, Rosie has been fighting, fighting to stay alive.

"It's been three years already and I'm doing good," Rosie said.

But that fight has come at a big cost. Rosie is still battling against the odds and is constantly in and out of the hospital to the point that all her insurance benefits have been exhausted.

And now the family is at a crossroads. Do they pay their mortgage or do they pay for cancer treatments to keep their daughter alive?

"When you have something like this happen it's crazy," Jackie said. "You don't think about bills anymore, you're just focused on keeping your child alive."

The Garcias are now $5,000 and three months behind on their mortgage.

Foreclosure, they say, is imminent and with the medical bills still rolling in, this cancer-stricken teenager decided to write to 3 On Your Side not for herself, but for her family.

"My parents are losing their home and it's my fault," Rosie wrote in the letter.

"I felt that it was partly my fault because they had to pay my bills," Rosie said.

Rosie's parents had no idea their daughter even wrote 3 On Your Side until we contacted them

"She shouldn't have to worry about mortgages and electric bills and hospital bills or any other bill," Jackie said. "The only thing she should do is just be happy, that's it, and enjoy the life she's got left."

3 On Your Side has been in contact with the Garcias' mortgage company and the lender is seeing what, if anything, they can do to keep the Garcias in their home.

I'll have a follow-up in two weeks on this story during a new economic series 3 On Your Side is launching. The first part of the series actually launches next Wednesday so stay tuned for that.