The year 2019 will forever be a year the Ramirez family will never forget.
Beloved Rancho Mirage High School football player, Israel Ramirez suffered a sudden and very serious, non-football related brain injury in September, which led to numerous emergency surgeries.
News Channel 3 got to catch up with Izzy on Christmas to see how he's doing and how he celebrated Christmas this year while recovering from his most recent brain surgery on December 15. Izzy's family tells us they feel extra blessed to have another Christmas with him.
"Eating tamales," Izzy exclaimed. "I love eating tamales," he added while taking another bite of his mother's homemade tamales on Christmas day.
Izzy shares with News Channel 3 what his favorite Christmas traditions are.
"We watch 'A Christmas Story' every year," he said.
The day was celebrated surrounded by family and loved ones at his sister's house in Desert Hot Springs.
"My girlfriend Ariana, all of my brothers, mother, my sister and her husband," he said were all with him.
And Izzy was definitely on Santa's nice list this year. He showed us his brand new Nikes and iPad. But, Izzy said what he wishes for more than any gift is to put his pads and number 30 jersey back on.
"Just to be back on the field," he said. He also shared he misses football practice and being with his team most of all.
He also showed us his highlight tape. "I watch them twice every couple days," he said.
Izzy's brother-in-law, Frank Vasquez shared that the greatest blessing this Christmas for his family was having Izzy home and doing well.
"It's a blessing," Vasquez said. "We got told a lot of things and they threw a lot of dates in the air and we didn't know and doctors told us a lot of different things about what is happening right now but after everything it's a blessing, it really is. I couldn't think of anything better than having him here and everybody here for the holidays," he added.
"I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I hope they have a really good day and just enjoy their day with their family," Izzy said.
Izzy is expected to begin being home schooled in January and hopes to be able to start his senior year at Rancho Mirage High School in the fall. We'll still be rooting for you Izzy and we hope you always stay 30 strong!