PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Jeremy is the only licensed soccer coach in the United States with cerebral palsy and he is passionate about the game. But between practices and matches, he’s on a demanding schedule and his condition only makes it tougher. He can’t go anywhere without someone’s help. That’s where his parents come in. As Jeremy puts it, his life became theirs. That’s why he reached out to the Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad.

“We just give up some things we want to do, but that’s what you do,” his mom Tina told 3TV’s Tess Rafols and the Surprise Squad. “Our family comes first. It always has.”

“It always has, it always will,” agreed stepfather Gary.

If Tina doesn’t see helping Jeremy as a challenge, it could be because she's quite familiar with life’s challenges. She is a 7-year breast cancer survivor.  She said the day that she was diagnosed with it was the most terrifying day of her life and her first thought was what’s going to happen to Jeremy. But she wasn’t alone. Gary was there with her for every appointment and surgery.  “He took care of the family while I recuperated,” Tina recalled.

Jeremy’s biological father was never much in his life, but Gary happily stepped into that role.

“He gets me,” Gary smiled.  “I get him. He’s my best friend. He’s the son I never had.”

Because of all that they do for him, Jeremy asked the Surprise Squad to plan a special getaway for his parents.

“From Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and your Valley Toyota Dealers, this is for you guys,” Rafols said as she handed the couple a box.

“Oh my gosh,” they both gasped as they read the note inside.

“A Sedona getaway,” Tina said.

“We love Sedona,” Gary added. “We went up there with friends a couple of times and it’s just gorgeous. That’s like our peaceful spot.”

“Every time if I’m having a bad day or something I’m like, let’s go to Sedona and watch the sunset,” Tina said.

Rafols told them that they would be staying for two nights at the Amara Resort and Spa in Sedona. Chef Lisa Dahl also invited them to enjoy a dinner at her brand new Butterfly Burger restaurant.

“We’re not done yet,” Rafols said. She told them to turn the note over, revealing the Surprise Squad was also giving them $2200. “Will that be able to help you guys?”

“More than you know,” Tina answered as she wiped away tears.

“This is all because of Jeremy,” Rafols smiled.

“I have one more surprise,” Jeremy added. “I filed paperwork to change my last name.”

The room was happily stunned by Jeremy’s announcement that he was changing his name to Gary’s last name.

“You didn’t need to do that,” a tearful Gary said. “I already knew you were my son.”

“This was a surprise to us,” Rafols laughed. “We’re supposed to surprise you.”

“There’s so much love in this family.  We are so lucky,” said Tina.

“Family is everything,” Gary added.

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


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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