mother and son seeing new car for first time, smiling and emotional

Three Children’s Hospital patient families received a refurbished vehicle through the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides® program on December 15, allowing the families a new level of independence and the elimination of many stresses due to lack of reliable transportation to and from their medical appointments.

Through the NABC Recycled Rides® program, Children’s Hospital identified three patient families most in need of vehicles. In partnership with the program, GEICO donated the cars and Gerber Collision center donated time and materials to refurbish the cars to like-new condition. Additionally, Enterprise Rent-A-Car contributed a gift card toward future vehicle service and maintenance costs.

The three patients are all receiving treatment for types of cancer and are in need of reliable transportation now more than ever.

Speaking to the patients and their families, Chuck Owens, Gerber Collision manager, said they hoped the vehicles would bring joy and ease their journeys to appointments.

“You just don’t know how excited we are to be a part of this project,” Owens said. “It’s so cool to be a part of something to give back after coming through COVID in 2020 and now in 2021 still navigating our way through. But today we stand here able to give back and put a smile on your face.”

One of the patients, Jonathan Ayon, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2020 and is now receiving chemotherapy. While his reaction to therapy has been effective, it has affected his ability to walk. He said the car would be life-changing. “I never thought something like this would ever happen to me,” Ayon said. “I’m just really happy and excited. This is one of the best experiences I could have ever asked for.”