Homewood teacher, 39, battling COVID-19 in 'very critical' condition

HOMEWOOD, Ill. (WLS) -- A Homewood teacher is fighting for her life after more than a month-long battle with COVID.

Cherie Garza, 39, is in very critical condition at Loyola University Medical Center. Her parents said she wasn't vaccinated yet, but had planned on getting her shots before returning to teach at Crete-Monee Middle School.

"Before they put the chest tube in, they called us in and they said she was near the end, she had a 1.1% chance of survival," said Gene Kiepura, her father. "She asked her, 'Doctor, what would you do if this was your sister?' and she said, 'I would fight.'"

"The doctor did seem hopeful, and he just said it's going to be an extremely long process for her lungs to heal," said Jan Kiepura, her mother.

Garza's parents said she underwent surgery Tuesday morning to get two new tubes put in her chest.

They said they've been overwhelmed by the show of support from their daughter's loved ones.
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