CHANDLER, AZ (3TV) -- A Chandler man has devoted the last six years to taking care of his wife, who is suffering from dementia. Their only daughter reached out to Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad to recognize his selfless care-giving and to give him a break to care about himself.
“I always see my dad, just helping my mom and doing so much for her and sometimes as a caregiver, you forget to take care of yourself,” said Taz. “So, I wanted him to just go out and you know, pamper himself.”
“Today is all about love and we’re celebrating a birthday, taking care of the caregiver,” said 3TV anchor Tess Rafols as she carried a balloon bouquet to the family’s door. “Let’s go for the surprise!”
[SECTION: 3TV Surprise Squad]
When Rafols knocked, Taz’ father Hafez opened the door.
“We’re looking for the birthday boy. Surprise!” said Rafols.
“I am surprised,” said Hafez.
Once inside, Rafols asked Hafez about his family.
“How long have you and your lovely wife been married,” said Rafols
“Close to 30 years,” said Hafez.
“Wow,” said Rafols.
“I met her, basically, through friends,” said Hafez. “We got married in Jerusalem. Six years ago, she had dementia and she went down slowly. Now she doesn’t talk that much.”
“You made a commitment,” said Rafols.
“Yes,” said Hafez. “I retired early from my job, a real estate broker. I walk with her every day in the neighborhood. I take care of her all the time. I’m with her basically 24/7.”
“I enjoy her company,” Hafez said touching his wife gently.
“Some people will say, well there’s home care, you know someone else to help us take care, but you choose to do that,” said Rafols.
“As long as I can do, I will do that,” said Hafez. “And I remember her mom, she told me, ‘Take care of her,’ and I made a promise there, too.”
“Courtesy of our friends at Dillard’s, we’re going to take you on a shopping spree!” said Rafols.
“Wow,” said Hafez.
“How does that sound?” said Rafols.
“Good!” said Hafez laughing.
Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad followed Taz and Hafez to Dillard’s at Chandler Fashion Mall where he tried on outfits and shoes. He left with three new pairs of Rockport shoes, several pairs of pants and shirts and two stylish hats.
But before he left, Dillard’s had a special gift basket for the 81-year-old caregiver.
“On behalf of Dillard’s Chandler Fashion Mall, I want to say happy birthday and thank you for your kind spirit,” said Dani Medlin, fashion communications director for Dillard’s west division.
“Thank you,” said Hafez, taking the basket of men’s fragrances and other toiletries.
Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad followed the family back to their home.
“You have all these new clothes, new shoes, this great gift basket from Dillard’s,” said Rafols.
“I thank them for that,” said Hafez.
“We have one more surprise for you,” said Rafols, handing Hafez a small wooden chest.
He opened the chest to reveal 1,000 dollars.
“Oh, my gosh,” said a surprised Taz.
“Wow!” said Hafez.
The group broke out in giddy laughter.
“Wow, wow,” repeated Hafez.
“1,000 dollars to spend however you want thanks to Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and your Valley Toyota Dealers,” said Rafols. "We just want to say, you take care of your lovely wife all the time and this is a little something for you.”
“You guys went above and beyond. Thanks to Dillard’s, too,” said Taz. “This is so amazing and so unexpected, and I think it’s safe to say he had a good birthday and everything he’s doing is remembered and appreciated. Thank you, guys!”
Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is sponsored by your Valley Toyota Dealers.