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Young Texas father contracts a rare form of cancer

Roughly 400 adult cases have been reported worldwide in the past 20 to 30 years.

SAN ANTONIO — Getting a cancer diagnosis is a tough pill to swallow, but even tougher when you find out and don't have insurance.

Jose Martinez is 31 years old, and an avid soccer player. 

"I've always wanted to be a striker—to be the one that goes after the ball," he said. "One day I was not feeling good so I decided to go to the clinic."

Now, instead of going after the ball, cancer is going after him. His wife, Brittney, recalled the day they found out just three weeks ago. 

"When they did the CAT scan it was probably like 30 minutes and they came back and the nurse was like, 'We are sorry to tell you, but you have cancer,'" Brittany Martinez said. 

It's a rare form called rhabdomyosarcoma, and it has spread all over his body.

"It's moved up to his lungs," Brittany Martinez said. "That's their main concern."

About 400 new cases of rhabdomyosarcoma occur each year in the United States. That number equates to four out of every 1 million people. 

However, most of those are in children. Globally, there have only been roughly 400 cases reported in the past 20 to 30 years for adults. 

"I'm actually following a support group on Facebook," Brittany Martinez said "Two-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 6-year-olds. They are all surprised because their kids are fighting, it not a grown man."

What's making it harder to fight the disease is a lack of insurance since Brittney just started a new job.  

"We did get CareLink," she said. "That's helping us out in the meantime, because he hasn't done any chemo since being diagnosed."

LaTrecee Leeper, a social worker with University Health System, said that's a vital step for the uninsured. 

"That way you ensure that they are getting the services they need medically and that their voice is being heard," Leeper said. "And that they are being validated and honored."

What is getting the Martinezs through their battle now are home remedies, Jose's incredibly high spirit, and knowing he wants to be there for his wife and two kids, Jasmine and Jaden. 

"I haven't beat it yet, but I think the key of this is having faith," he said. 

The family has started a GoFundMe to help deter some of their costs, as well as a fundraiser on Facebook. To learn more about CareLink, click here. 

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