Immunocompromised TTU student takes refuge on campus - FOX34 Lubbock

Immunocompromised TTU student takes refuge on campus

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

"At first, it wasn't major it was 1 or 2 cases. I wasn't too concerned. But when it hit Lubbock, I was like 'okay' and then Dallas hit and then New Orleans hit, and I was like 'that's my 3 main places' and the best place for me to be is inside," Ali Hooks said.

She's just one of a few students still living on Texas Tech's campus after the COVID-19 pandemic shut it down.

"I knew almost everyone in these complexes, I was very well known because of my service dog, everyone loves him. It was hard to see them go, because I've been neighbors since August and one day, they're all gone. And you're just left alone," Hooks said.

Hooks is immunocompromised and at a higher risk for catching the novel virus.

"I was first diagnosed with ERD, End Stage Renal Disease, when I was 18 on October 5th, 2018. I was only in college for a month and that first month of college was just, absolutely horrible. I felt sick 24/7," Hooks recalled.


Ali during a dialysis treatment

 Late last December, she received a life-saving kidney.

Now, she feels healthy, but knows her immune system is fragile.

Instead of heading home to Port Barre, Louisiana, she applied for emergency housing.

"I stocked up on food, all necessities. I try to go out as little as possible," Hooks said.

Food services are shut down, so sometimes she still has to brave the store.

"I wear my gloves to the store, always wear long sleeves so no contact with my skin. I Lysol my car... I Lysol myself. I have GermX in my purse, in my pockets," she said.

She is grateful to have a safe place to stay during the pandemic but is also seriously missing home.

"It's kind of lonely at times. I didn't go home for Spring Break, I didn't go home for Easter. You know, I'm missing everything. And I'm at least stuck here until May 15th. So I'm excited to go home, see family, cook," Hooks said.

She is not entirely alone, though. She has her service dog, Chester James.


Ali's service dog, Chester James


"Chester's basically my roommate, is what I say. He's not even a dog, he's my roommate," Hooks said.

She's finding new hobbies in her free time including making face masks for people who need them.



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