Phoenix family battling illnesses gifted trip to Florida amusement parks
Surprise Squad is sponsored by Valley Toyota Dealers.
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Every day is a challenge for a Phoenix family with two brothers battling a severe disease. Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad wanted to bring them some joy during the holiday season, so we teamed up with the Phoenix Fire Department, Baking Memories 4 Kids, and of course, Valley Toyota Dealers to create an unforgettable surprise.
“We’re going to get in the fire truck in a couple of minutes,” said Frank Squeo, the founder of Baking Memories 4 Kids. He stood outside of Phoenix Fire Station 37. “And we are going to go to a family that has two very, very sick boys. Both with spina bifida. And these boys want nothing more than to go to Disney World. I fly all over the country and give these families that have no positive memories, all their memories are hospitals and chemo and injections and sadness. We give them memories of a lifetime. And it’s all because people buy cookies that we sell this time of year.”
“You have found your purpose,” 3TV’s Tess Rafols smiled as they prepared to board a fire truck. “Let’s go give them the surprise of a lifetime.” With the sirens on, the fire truck pulled up in front of the house where the family was waiting. The kids thought they were going to be part of a photoshoot for their mom’s nonprofit organization and had no idea what was in store for them. Frank and Rafols stepped out of the fire truck and greeted the family.
“I am Tess with Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and guess what? We brought our friend from Baking Memories 4 Kids. Mr. Frank is here and he just wanted to say hi.” Frank knelt next to Caleb and Miles, the two sick boys. Their big brother and little sister were also with them. “Are you guys ready to hear the best news ever? You guys are going to go to Disney World, SeaWorld, Legoland, Universal Studios, every single amusement park in the state of Florida for a whole week.”
“What do you think of that?” Rafols asked Caleb. “I like it!” Caleb shouted with excitement. Their mom Allison shared some of the challenges with raising two sick boys. “Both of them are really complex. Between the two of them, they’ve had dozens of brain surgeries. Caleb just had his eleventh brain surgery this year. So we spent a lot of time in the hospital. Parents rise up to hard things because that’s what’s been handed to them. And of course, no one would choose to have these complications in life, these challenges, no one wants to see their children suffer. But we make the best life we possibly can for them because they’re worth it.”
Rafols asked Allison about the nonprofit she runs to help other parents in similar circumstances. “We’re in our third year of Something So Worth It. We’re a local charity that just serves families here in Arizona. And we serve families that just do recreational events for kids, respite events for parents and caregivers that desperately need a break. We saw families that were hurting and we’re in the trenches with these families, we know exactly what they’re going through. So who better to fill that need?”
“Arizona’s Family teamed up with your Valley Toyota Dealers,” Rafols said. “They understand what community is. Just like we do at Arizona’s Family and you guys are the epitome of that. So we wanted to give you this for Something So Worth It.” “What?” Allison gasped as she got a certificate for $3,000 inside an envelope Rafols gave to her. “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much.” “How will $3,000 make a difference for the organization.”
“We can do so many programs for the kids, and a little bit goes a long way for a small organization like this,” Allison said as she got emotional.” “This gives us more pleasure than you can imagine and so much joy to be able to be here with you guys today for this announcement,” Rafols smiled. “It’s a special day,” Allison smiled back. “A special day,” Rafols agreed. “Let’s have a cookie!”
If you would like to support Baking Memories 4 Kids by buying a box of cookies, go to their website.