Seven-year-old L.J. Garza began selling t-shirts to raise money for his friend Marcus Perez to help him in his battle with cancer.
Perez, like any eight-year-old boy, loves to spend time with his friends. He’s full of life, but that wasn't always the case.
"I was being real slow, like a turtle,” Perez said. “The way I was walking.”
At just five years old, Perez was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
"They were going to put a machine in me, and I was going to get chemo," Perez said.
Since then, Perez has received more than 80 chemotherapy treatments.
"He's just been strong," said Cynthia Suarez, Marcus' mom. "Like, he's very mature for his age, and he just takes it as it comes."
"I couldn't really be around people," Perez said.
Perez's symptoms were so severe, and he was so fragile, he had to be homeschooled.
Perez and Garza met when they were in pre-k and were inseparable. Garza knew he had to do something.
"I was like, ‘oh yeah, my mom makes shirts,’ so I told her, ‘mom, can you make me a shirt so I can wear it to school Friday?’" Garza said.
Soon Garza began selling his t-shirts in honor of Perez.
"It clicked to him that his friend Marcus had been going through leukemia since they were in pre-k, and that's how he decided that was for sure to go to Driscoll Children's," said Laura Garza, L.J.'s mom.
Perez’ family has to drive all the way from their home in Freer to get him to treatment.
"It's hard sometimes. You know, gas is expensive. Anything, you know, is an expense, and some of the parents like me sometimes don't have the funds," Suarez said.
Every penny counts for Suarez.
"It meant so much for him to want to do that," Suarez said.
On Saturday, Garza dropped off a $250 check to Perez and his family, just a week shy of his best friend's chemo treatment.
"This is just the beginning, but it's going to get into the millions," Garza said.
Stay connected with 3News for the latest news, sports, and weather. Download the KIII-TV 3News app now.