GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A student teacher, earning his degree in music education, got a dream assignment to work with a marching band. But when his father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, the disease threatened his life as well as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for his son, Jason.
Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad decided to surprise Jason during the school’s football game, when he would be doing what he loves best: joining the marching band for a half-time performance.
“I fell in love with band from a really young age,” said Jason, Campo Verde student teacher. “I decided that I wanted to spread my love and joy and passion for music to kids, so I ended up choosing to major in music education. This is what I want to do. I want to teach high school band. It’s crazy to me just how much support the students have given me.”
“Mr. B has been like a rock,” said Emily, marching band student.
“He’s here sixty plus hours a week,” said Alisa, Jason’s mother.
“Nights and weekends are spent at this father’s bedside,” said Horton. “Well, now, the Campo Verde student teacher has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join his bandmates in London, when they perform on New Year’s Day.”
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“The amount of support they gave me, it just quadrupled when I told them about the stage four diagnosis and then I kind of went through a period where I was like, well maybe I should just stay home and care for my dad,” said Jason. “I told him and he’s like no, keep doing it.”
“But cancer battles are costly and without help Jason won’t be able to join the band,” said Horton. “And no one wants to see Jason’s wish come true more than his father, Randy.”
“I’m so excited for him and I’m hoping to be here by then, I think we will,” said Randy. “But I’m super excited for him to have this opportunity.”
“With him being in the hospital, he doesn’t get paid,” said Alisa. “There’s no way without the Surprise Squad he would be going. No way.”
“So, let’s do this!” said Horton, high-fiving Jason’s parents.
“So, the Campo Verde Marching Band thinks we’re here to showcase their upcoming trip, which we are,” said Horton. “But we’re also here to surprise Jason and grant his parents’ wish!”
After the band’s half-time performance, Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad joined them on the field.
“Tell us about the upcoming trip you guys are going on,” said Horton.
“So, we got invited about a year and a half ago to go to London to participate in their New Year’s Day parade, there,” said Matt, Campo Verde Marching Band Director. “A huge honor for us. So, we’re doing all the fund-raising and all kinds of stuff to get these kids there.”
“Are you guys ready for London?” Horton asked the group.
The band broke out into cheers.
“I have a confession to make,” said Horton. “You know, this is of course to talk about that trip to London and your great skills, but this is about Jason right now, okay?”
Turning to Jason, he continued.
“We got a wonderful letter and accolades from your students,” said Horton. “It was amazing, and we got a little surprise for you, that’s brought to you by the Valley Toyota Dealerships. I want you to open this okay?”
Horton handed Jason a box and Jason opened it.
“You put in a lot of work, buddy,” said Horton. “We want to send you to London, Buddy! Hey show that to your band!”
“Oh, man,” said Jason tearing up. He then turned the box around to show his surprise of three-thousand dollars.
The marching band broke out into thunderous cheers and applause.
“I cannot thank the band or the directors enough for all their support,” said Jason. “If it wasn’t for my family, I probably would have given up a long time ago. And I want to thank 3TV for putting this all together, cause it’s crazy.”
Jason’s father was just released from the hospital the day 3TV surprised his son. Arizona’s Family will be keeping Randy in our hearts as he continues his cancer battle.
Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is sponsored by your Valley Toyota Dealers.