A family is mourning the loss of Salvador Garibay Contreras, a 74-year-old man from Logan Heights who was battling cancer when he suddenly got COVID-19.
Garcia’s father-in-law was loved by all who knew him, a soul that lit up the lives of others. A father to 12, Contreras was from Mexico and was determined to stay strong and beat cancer.
“Loved by everyone, wherever he would walk by,” Garcia says. “'Oh, there he goes…Salvador Garibay.'”
Adriana Garcia says she and her family were surprised he caught COVID-19 in the span that he did, remaining steadfast in their efforts to try and keep him isolated from others and had till then, been able to keep him free from the virus. However, Garcia told us while her father-in-law was undergoing chemotherapy at a clinic in the month of January, that’s when things took a turn.
She told us his oxygen levels dropped during that time and he was then taken to a hospital by ambulance. Radiation was the next possible step in his cancer treatment but says it’s during that time that he tested positive for COVID-19 despite testing negative before his chemotherapy started
“Any possibilities that he had to keep living a little bit longer just went down the drain with this COVID hitting him,” Garcia says.
Garcia says her father-in-law’s cancer was treatable and doctors told him he was expected to live for many years but says things spiraled after he caught the virus. Garcia says from there, his treatment diverted from cancer to solely focused on COVID-19. She told us his need for oxygen became so great, he couldn’t even steal a sip of water.
“'Need to drink some water', Oh, my God I felt that in my heart,” Garcia says.” The nurse was like it's either oxygen or water we can't give him both.”
Garcia thinks he might have contracted COVID-19 during his time of treatment but it's not for certain how he got the virus. She says his cancer treatment couldn't have been put on pause during the pandemic.
Garcia says it’s been a difficult time for her and her family but counts her blessings for the times she was able to share with her father-in-law.
“I just I don’t want to start crying because it's just hard to see someone who has so much love to give and that he's not here in anymore,” Garcia says.
Garcia has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses.