Tuesday 24 October 2017

Wigan star diagnosed with leukaemia

Liam Blackburn

Wigan Athletic defender Juan Carlos García has been diagnosed with leukaemia, manager Malky Mackay has revealed.

The Championship club announced last week that the 26-year-old Honduras international had developed a blood disorder and was in hospital for treatment.

Signed by Wigan in 2013, Garcia recently returned from a loan spell with Tenerife in Spain.

Mackay said: "We've had some bad news as far as that's concerned – he has a form of leukaemia.

"Juan Carlos is in the Christie Hospital in Manchester.

"The club doctor, Doctor [Ansar] Zaman, has been truly sensational as far as the care and attention with the whole dealing of the matter as far as Juan Carlos feeling ill and having problems – from that point to the point where we got him to a specialist quickly and got the diagnosis done.

"[Chief executive] Jonathan Jackson, myself and the doctor have had various chats on it. We've flown his mother, his wife and his sister over form Honduras to be with him and arranged accommodation close to the hospital as well.

"It's something that is obviously a real blow for Juan Carlos' family and everybody connected with the football club. We're going to make sure that he gets the best care possible.

"I went in to see Juan Carlos and he was incredibly upbeat and his spirits were strong. He's going to fight this and make sure he gets through this for the sake of his wife and kids. Everybody at the club is wishing him all the best as I'm sure that all our fans are."

Garcia joined countryman Roger Espinoza at the DW Stadium in the summer of 2013, but to date his solitary appearance in a Latics shirt came in the Capital One Cup game at Manchester City in September of that year.

He made two outings for his country at last summer's World Cup, though, and, with Wigan undergoing something of a transformation of late, he is now one of the longer serving players on their books.

Mackay added: "He's been over on loan in Tenerife and came back to us in January so he's been back with us six weeks or so.

"Some of the guys will know him better than others but, either way, you've got a team-mate in the dressing room who's just had something befall him.

"The rest of the players have been good, they've all been texting him. It's not really the right time to go and see him because he's going to have his treatment start right away.

"But we're very positive and he's very positive and we're hoping things go in a good direction for him.

"It's going to be a fight and a battle but he's a strong, fit young man with a good spirit. The conversation I had with him gave me hope for humanity. He's a terrific young kid and was very positive."

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