At 37, after experiencing flu-like symptoms, Eddie was rushed to the hospital in a state of septic shock. En route, he experienced kidney failure, which was causing him to be in and out of consciousness. When he entered into the hospital, he was given less than a 20% chance of survival, put on life support and placed into a coma.
After multiple blood transfusions doctors diagnosed Eddie with necrotizing fasciitis, most commonly know as flesh-eating bacteria. He was not expected to survive. Despite being in critical condition and within hours of death, his doctor recommended emergency surgery to try and remove the bacteria that had embedded in his right thigh. Eddie miraculously survived the surgery, but not all of the bacteria was removed. As he continued to fight for his life, three more surgeries ensued and he continued to survive each one. The bacteria was finally removed and now it was a matter of saving Eddie who was beginning to suffer multiple organ failure from the loss of blood.
Medication was administered to isolate all the blood he had left in his body to the organs that were beginning to fail. This caused a lack of circulation to his hands and feet. Doctors eventually had to amputate his legs below the knee and his hands below the elbows.
Since going through this life-altering experience, Eddie has challenged himself to move on with his life and attain the goals that even those who have both hands and feet struggle to achieve. Just three months and three weeks after entering the hospital, Eddie returned to the basketball court to do what he has always loved to do, coach youth sports. Today, Eddie is an award winning youth sports coach from the Las Vegas Valley and continues to show others how to continue moving forward despite the challenges in life.
Eddie's latest adventure has him traveling through cities across America sharing his remarkable story of inspiration, resiliency, and his never-give-up attitude.
Edward "Eddie" Garcia (born February 24, 1975) is an American educator and motivational speaker. He became well known after having survived from a rare flesh eating bacteria in January 2013. Unfortunately, Garcia had his hands and feet amputated due to complications of the illness.
Garcia, who is now retired from education, speaks to schools and organizations in cities across America. Most recently, he was a featured speaker at the "Building a Healthier Future Summit" in Washington DC with First Lady Michelle Obama. Garcia speaks on a wide variety of topics such as overcoming adversity, living a positive life, team building, coaching youth sports, and leadership as well as his incredible story of survival.
Garcia began his career in education in 1998 after receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Sociology from Cal State University Fullerton. His first teaching assignment was teaching 6th grade at St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Whittier, California. He originally planned to spend only one year in education while he attempted to break into the competitive world of sports public relations. However, his career path changed that year as he fell in love with teaching children and ultimately went back to school and earned his teaching credential from UCLA in 2002.
In 2004, Garcia purchased a home in Henderson, Nevada and was hired by the Clark County School District. After two successful years teaching at a middle school, he obtained a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix and was named the Dean of Students at one of the school districts behavior schools. Garcia spent 7 years molding and shaping the lives of some of the school districts most disadvantaged students.
In 2012, looking for a new challenge, Garcia transferred schools and spent several months there before falling ill to the flesh eating bacteria.
Garcia's road to recovery has been a remarkable and inspiring story. Shortly after being admitted into the hospital, his wife Antoinette was told by doctors to gather the family and friends and have them come and pay their last respects. Suffering from kidney failure, liver damage, respiratory problems, blood loss, and other life threatening issues, he was not expected to live. But after several surgeries to remove the bacteria, blood transfusions, daily dialysis and a lot of prayers, Garcia miraculously survived.
Garcia was inflicted by the bacteria on January 14 and by April 24, was already recovering at home with his wife and two children, Haley and Ryan. In what may be the fastest recovery of a person who contracted a flesh eating bacteria, 3 months and 3 weeks, from beginning to end, he has continued to live his life as normal as possible. Within weeks of his release from the hospital, he was back doing what he loves, coaching youth sports which he had been doing since he was 17 years old.
In 2013, he was named the Youth Coach of the Year by the National Alliance of Youth Sports for his volunteer work with youth for the Henderson Parks and Recreation Department. He was honored in San Diego, California, and met one of his childhood idols, Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers and current owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Garcia's story has been featured locally in Las Vegas on all the major news channels including Good Morning Las Vegas Channel 13 with Jessica Janner, Fox Channel 5 with Elizabeth Watts, CBS Channel 8 Las Vegas Marathon News Coverage, as well as newspapers and Internet media worldwide.