When Gil García García began to feel a sharp pain in his left foot, he didn’t think it was important.
“Two weeks later, I could not walk. I needed help to get up. I had a constant and bad headache,” García recalled in a quiet voice, now with little strength.
In October he was rushed to a hospital emergency room at the University of California, Davis. The diagnosis was devastating: skin cancer, or melanoma, which had invaded his head, lungs, stomach and left leg.
Facing an incurable disease
Like many undocumented immigrants who have worked a lifetime in this country, García faced a dilemma when he was diagnosed with an incurable disease.
They often do not know whether to stay in the U.S. to receive the limited emergency medical treatment allowed given their immigration status, or return to their home country to spend the last stage of their life with family members who they often have not seen for decades.
“I have not seen my four children for 20 years,” said García, now age 62. He came from Cuernavaca, Mexico in 1994 to work in California.
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