PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Phoenix-area family has been on a mission to quit living paycheck to paycheck. But making the goal a reality has been fraught with setbacks.

A car crash and job loss robbed them of their hard-earned savings. Now, the father’s chances of earning a degree from Grand Canyon University are in jeopardy because he can’t afford the high-powered computer he needs for his STEM classes.

[WATCH: Arizona's Family Surprise Squad gets a Phoenix father a computer for college]

3TV’s April Warneke and Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad paid the family a visit to make it a little easier for Daniel to reach his goals.

After welcoming Warneke into their home, Daniel shared his story of sacrifice and struggle.

“I do everything because that’s my family, you know, whatever,” said Daniel. “I haven’t really bought myself any clothes probably for a couple of years just to make sure they have everything. My son, he brought up the whole, ‘Dad we can sell this or we could do that,’ and it really warms you up in a way to know that they want to make that sacrifice. That’s my job to do it.”

The family had saved several hundred dollars, but a recent car crash totaled Daniel’s car. And though wife Jennifer is starting a new job, she was out of work temporarily. The hardships caused them to use their savings, putting a computer further out of reach.

[READ MORE: Arizona's Family Surprise Squad stories]

“I try and motivate him, just to go to school, go to school,” said Jennifer crying. “He’s like well, I don’t have this or this or I need to figure out how to get money, so we cannot live paycheck to paycheck. That’s a hard school and he got in and I don’t want him to lose that opportunity.”

“I’m going for bio-medical engineering,” said Daniel. “I want to get educated enough to make my ideas a reality.”

One of those ideas is a way to make drugs like insulin more affordable. Diabetes and the high cost of treating it has affected his family.

“I’m sick of it,” said Daniel. “One of our last projects we have to do is create a robotic hand. We’re going to be working on 3-D printing different devices, creating all different designs and everything. That’s probably one of the biggest financial things. A computer that has all that.”

“Well, we have something for you today,” said Warneke handing Daniel a small box. “On behalf of your Valley Toyota Dealers and Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad.”

“A nice mouse combo,” said Daniel.

“So, we figure that you’re going to need that to go with something else,” said Warneke handing Daniel a large box.

Daniel was stunned and fought back tears, then nervously laughed.

“You don’t even know what it is!” said Warneke laughing through tears. “We hope this will be able to help you with your studies.”

She explained that the Surprise Squad had contacted the school to make sure the Dell laptop computer would meet the special demands of his complex classes.

“Thank you,” whispered Daniel. He exhaled deeply. “I don’t even know what to say. I’m sorry.”

“This is all because of your wife,” said Warneke. Don’t thank me, thank her.”

Daniel and Jennifer embraced and told each other ‘I love you’.

“You feel that literal, like, weight lifted off your chest,” said Daniel. “This helps so much.”

Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is sponsored by your Valley Toyota Dealers.

 


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