Mesa veteran battling cancer gets donated car

The Mesa Veterans Resource Center teamed up with the Mesa Chamber of Commerce to help Chris Harris and his family with a new car.

MESA, Ariz -  At the the Mesa Veterans Resource Center, the mission is clear: Connect vets with services.

"Soft skills training, a resume, some paperwork done. Whatever it is, we want to meet them where they are and get them to the place they need to be," said Mark Young, the director of Mesa United Way.

U.S. Army veteran Chris Harris saw action in in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

"Little scary, but after Iraq, I knew what to expect," Harris said.   

Little did he know that when he returned home, he would be in the fight of his life.  A painful lump in his hip turned out to be an aggressive cancer. In July, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. The news crushed Harris.

"Felt like my world came to an end," he said fighting back tears.

The Harris family soon found out that treating cancer can take a toll on all parts of their lives–including the family car.

"It got repossessed," Harris said.

His wife, Carrie Harris, was able to borrow a car, but it wasn't easy or convenient.

"It was getting back and forth, to-and-from the hospital, to-and-from my son's school, and my sister, to-and-from work. It was just very, very busy days," Carrie Harris said.

Thursday, they got some help. Through the efforts of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Congressman Andy Biggs' office, and the Mesa Veterans Resource Center, the Harris family got back on the road with a new set of wheels.

Chamber president and CEO Sally Harrison presented Harris with the keys to a donated Honda Accord provided by a chamber member, Valley Express Towing.

It was a gift for an ailing vet that represented a new start and sent a valuable message to other veterans who might be in need.

"It's going to make my wife's transportation a lot easier," Harris said. 

"To get something like this," Carrie Harris said, "...it's like 'OK, they're listening, they're hearing us, and they see this.'  So it's very good and very appreciated."

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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