HOUSTON - Chances are if you’ve been to an Astros game, you've seen the Big Hat Posse with their big, bright-orange cowboy hats. One of the founding members, Dave Rojas, was admitted to the ICU recently after contracting COVID-19.
"2021 has not been the greatest start," said Roland Rojas, Dave's brother.
Rojas said on New Year’s Eve, Dave was admitted to the ICU after contracting COVID-19 a few days prior.
In August of 2019, Dave was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, which spread to his lungs, eventually causing fibrosis. The chemotherapy made him weak and his condition put him at high-risk.
"The nurse said that he was stable. His oxygen had gone up to about 53% compared to when they first got him. He was at 41% when they moved him to ICU. The next day they said he'd gone up to 96% on the oxygen and he had a big improvement and then all his vitals are still very strong," Rojas said.
Although stable, Rojas said five days later, Dave remains in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator.
Doctors have treated him with plasma in hopes he can defeat COVID. But the reality of the situation is dire, and his family had to make some tough decisions.
"The doctor called and asked me, if his body decides that it's had enough and you know, his heart stops, then we want to know what do you want. We said, we don't want him to suffer. He's fought long and hard, so you know, we can let it go at that point," said Rojas.
Over the last 30 years, Dave has attended nearly every home game for the Astros, Rockets, Texans and UH Cougars.
For a man who supports all of Houston, win or lose, his family’s now asking that Houston return the favor.
"He's always kind of had that kind of quiet strength. He's really become like a hero for me. I mean, he just shows his strength all the time and I'm proud of him for that," Rojas said.
His family says they’re thankful for the support everyone’s showed so far. Their priority is to get Dave recovered from COVID so he can return to his lung cancer treatments.