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Golder Ranch firefighter brings hope to kids through steel crosses

Posted at 4:54 AM, Sep 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 12:09:42-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Camden Garcia, 22, grabs his welding mask, slides it over his face and then grabs his welder from the back of his dad's steel shop. He's preparing to start welding metal crosses, because when he was 5 years old, they were a symbol of hope.

Garcia spent the first five years of his life with headaches. He went to to multiple doctors, until he eventually got a MRI that determined he had a brain tumor and needed live-saving surgery.

"When I was in the hospital and sick, there was that hope and that was all you could think about," Garcia said.

Camden Garcia at 5 years old in the hopsital
Camden Garcia at 5 years old in the hospital getting ready to go home.

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At such a young age, weeks in the hospital weren't easy for him, so his family tried to lift his spirits by putting in a Make-A-Wish request.

"Make-A-Wish came to me and said we would like to grant your wish while I was still in the hospital," Garcia said. "Them coming to me and my family, it provided hope."

Garcia and his family were flown out to Fort Worth, Texas and got the chance to meet NASCAR Legend Jeff Gordon.

He said the experience changed his life and helped lift his spirits, so he could get better.

As soon as he was healthy enough, Garcia and his father wanted to give back to Make-A-Wish Arizona, so they started building steel crosses.

They've been selling them for 16 years and have raised 8,000 dollars.

"What Camden and his father have donated collectively since his wish, he's basically paid for another child's wish," Director of Make-A-Wish Arizona Rob LaMaster said.

Garcia said he got through his tough times and achieved his dreams of being a Golder Ranch Firefighter.

Even though he is better, he said there are still a lot of sick kids in Arizona who may need a little bit of hope, so the work must continue.

On each of his crosses is a note:

"My name is Camden, this is my testimony. When I was 5, I had a brain tumor and under went brain surgery. During that time I turned to God for comfort. Psalms 91, He took me under his wings and covered me with his feathers. GOD HEALED ME! Now, my dad and I made these crosses for God's glory. God has blessed us and we want to pass the blessings to you. God Bless, Camden."