Hendrix Garcia Farris had been battling leukemia since June 2019
By Raiza Giorgi
On his last day of chemotherapy treatments, Solvang student Hendrix Garcia Farris was surprised by his classmates with a celebration of his milestone achievement.
“We really wanted him to feel special and know that we have been cheering him on this whole time,” said his teacher Jodi Rogers.
Hendrix’s dad Matt Farris said the school called him in June of 2019 because he looked pale and so they took Hendrix to the doctor to have blood work done.
“The next day we were going to the movies and the doctor called and asked if Hendrix was OK,” Farris said. “We said ‘Yeah, we are just going to the movies,’ and the doctor said to take him immediately to the hospital because his blood count was in the single digits.”
Hendrix was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow — the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made. Acute lymphocytic leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children, and treatments result in a good chance for a cure, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“I will never forget being in the doctor’s office and when they told us Hendrix had leukemia and he said to us, ‘Don’t worry I am not dying, I will be fine,’” Farris said.
In the past two years Hendrix had to be isolated from school, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and he was put into a study group that dealt with cancer in children. He has been taking daily oral chemo treatments and has had spinal taps sometimes two times a month. Over time the spinal taps lessened to once a month as he improved, Farris said.
“We make it a family affair. We usually all go together until COVID hit, then only one parent could go at a time,” Farris said. “We alternate and usually do something fun after. This kid is amazing as he never complains and the doctors tell us they want to clone him because he has had such a great attitude and response to the medication.”
Hendrix was excited to go back to school this year and be in class with his friends and teachers.
He will also be celebrating the end of his chemo treatments by going to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas at the beginning of December. He was chosen by the local nonprofit Golden Circle of Champions to go.
Golden Circle is a nonprofit founded in 2016 that partners with the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo, which Hendrix was invited to go to back in September of this year as well. Golden Circle provides funds to help local children battling pediatric cancer, and one of their most passionate volunteers is Hendrix’s classmate Caleb Moon.
The children who are selected get to attend a dinner at the rodeo, meet many of the cowboys and cowgirls, and then get to watch the rodeo from a special reserved section in the grandstands.
“We are so excited to take Hendrix to see the NFR and go make some great memories,” Farris said.
To learn more about Golden Circle and this year’s events at the NFR, visit their Facebook page.
To watch the celebration click on the video below.