Young mom of 7 dies, family forced to collect for funeral expenses day before burial

They call her a super mom.

Joanna Garza is described as a woman who dedicated her life to raising 7 children on her own.

But like so many others, she had a kryptonite in the form of cancer.

Home video posted to Facebook shows the 31-year-old just before she died Monday evening in Mercedes.

Her family and friends have spent every waking moment since trying to collect enough money just to bury her.

Veronica Garza is Joanna's younger sister.

"It's very hard," she told Action 4's Ryan Wolf. "We were prepared for it. But now that we have a lot of support, it shows us that she helped everyone out, and everyone here is to show support both our family and friends."

Nearly 3 dozen people in all fanned out across the intersection of Texas Boulevard and Frontage Road in Weslaco on Tuesday to capture the hearts and spirits of the public by soliciting donations.

They held signs with her picture and cups to hold money.

Jeremy Garza is Joanna's oldest son at 17.

"God helped her," he said. "God took her away from the suffering. All I ask is that people donate. Please help. You don't have to but whatever helps."

Just a few days ago doctors informed the family that Joanna's prognosis was terminal.

They immediately began to hit the streets and collected $5,000.

But funeral expenses were more than what was raised.

It forced family and friends to continue to collect money even after Joanna passed away.

They're about $3,000 dollars short as of Tuesday afternoon.

Ofelia Garza is Joanna's mother.

"How difficult is it for you having to collect on a day of mourning?" Ryan asked.

"It's hard," she responded with her head down. "It's very hard."

Jeremy is thankful his mom is no longer in pain.

She fought both ovarian and cervical cancers for 15 months.

With no father figure, now he worries for his siblings.

The youngest is age 7.

"My biggest fear is that the kids are going to make fun of them," he told Ryan. "I don't like for kids to be made fun of. All I ask is for all the kids out there to respect their mom cause you only have one mom in life."

His mom made a powerful impact.

She continues to do so, even in death.

Funeral services are set for Wednesday at Garcia & Trevino Funeral Home in Mercedes at 11am with burial to follow.

The family says they are no longer in need of financial assistance.

They were able to collect the remaining balance to pay for funeral expenses by Tuesday evening after their struggle was posted on a series of Action 4 News social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to follow Ryan Wolf on Facebook Click here to follow Ryan Wolf on Twitter