Boy with leukemia returns home from Riley after dad donates stem cells

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INDIANAPOLIS — A young boy is finally home with a newfound chance at life after spending 40 days in the hospital — and it’s all thanks to a stem cell donation from his father.

Six-year-old Levi Galvez and his father Geovani Galvez were met with singing, dancing, and applause from staff at Riley Hospital for Children on Wednesday as the pair left the hospital.

“We’re extremely grateful for everyone who cared for Levi at Riley. They all treated Levi as if he was their own child. Everyone who was on his care team was amazing,” said Geovani Galvez. “We’re proud to be a Riley family and thankful for everything!”

Geovani Galvez said his son went straight home to play with Legos — his favorite toy and the same thing that helped him pass time between treatments.

He says Levi has mostly played with his sister, who he saw for the first time since going inpatient this week. They’ve watched “Shrek” on repeat.

Levi and his sister.

Levi had been in and out of the hospital from the time he was 2 years old after being diagnosed with leukemia, Geovani Galvez said. Around Christmastime last year, Levi relapsed again, and doctors told the family a stem cell transplant was the best treatment option.

There was no match for the six-year-old through the national registry, but his father, Geovani, discovered he was a half-match.

On March 1, the transplant was performed.

Geovani said helping his son gave him a purpose in life. Just a few months prior to Levi’s relapse, he had attempted suicide.

RELATED | Months after attempting suicide, Noblesville father learns he’s a match to save son’s life

“Sometimes I used to wonder why I lived, but there was a greater purpose after that,” Geovani Galvez told WRTV.

Levi’s father said Levi will quarantine for one year after his release.

In the meantime, Geovani Galvez said he’ll speak with a trauma survivors group and peer visitation through Methodist Hospital to share his story.

If you or someone you know is thinking about hurting themselves, the suicide prevention lifeline is available around the clock at 1-800-273-TALK. You can also text “IN” to 741741.

Correction: A previous version of some social media posts included a misspelling of Levi and Geovani Galvez’s last name. WRTV regrets the error.

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