AJ DeLaGarza's first child, a son named Luca, is yet to be born, and yet he's already fighting for his life.
Luca was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart is too underdeveloped to provide enough blood flow for the body, after 20 weeks inside the womb and will spend the first days and weeks of his life undergoing and recovering from multiple surgeries to correct the defect.
When the Galaxy take the field for warmups prior to Wednesday night's match against DC United, DeLaGarza and his teammates will wear special “Luca Knows Heart” shirts to support Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ heart institute, which is where Luca will spend the first weeks of his life.
DeLaGarza has said he has no plans as of now to take a break from the field of play, admitting that playing for the Galaxy has provided the only sanctuary in an uncertain time for him and his family.
The 26-year-old soon-to-be father has set up a fundraising page for the heart center at the CHLAs, saying, "It’s important for me to help other families who are in need more than I am. To be able to do that for those that need the care is probably something that we’re going to do for the rest of our lives.”