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Friday, 29 July 2016 20:08

Family Whose 3-year-old Daughter has Cancer Surprised With Refurbished Car


Ali and Mark Thackeray and their daughter, Ruby, 3, react as they are presented with a free car by Don Adams, CEO and president of Bear River Mutual, right, and Brian Martin of KSL Newsradio, left, at Martins Collision Repair in Orem on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.


OREM — The only thing worse than having cancer is having an untreatable cancer.

Ruby Thackeray, who is just 3 years old, has suffered from health problems her entire life. She was born with a nonmalignant mass on the back of her neck that was later removed by surgery.

But in March, doctors found over 40 tumors in her lungs. She was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma cancer.

In an effort to treat the cancer, her family frequently traveled from their home in Sandy to the Stanford Medical Center in California. They were often worried about car troubles, the mother said.

But on July 20, the family received a gift from the community that will make their traveling a little easier.

Martins Collision Repair, Bear River Mutual Insurance, the Tyler Robinson Foundation and other local companies teamed up to surprise the family with a refurbished car, a 2009 Hyundai Sonata.

"I know there are other people who could use a car more than us," said Ruby's mother, Ali Thackery. "But it's more the effort and the time and the love that is what the car represents that we so appreciate."

All the paperwork and insurance processing was completed before the family arrived at the auto body shop Wednesday.

"All they have to do is turn the key and drive," said Thiago Martins, regional manager at Martin's Collision Repair. "They just have to drive out."

The car had been totaled by another owner who couldn't afford to fix it. Bear River Mutual Insurance bought the car and turned it over to Martins Collision Repair.

"We want to help make a difference," said Sergio Martins, chief financial officer at the auto body shop. "Even though we can't give a car to everyone that needs one, we can at least give it to one family."

An independent agent from Bear River Mutual Insurance recommended the family receive the car after learning about them through the Tyler Robinson Foundation.

The company wanted the family to be surprised when they were presented with the car, so the family was told they were "finalists" in a contest. The surprise was revealed when the family came into the auto body shop Wednesday.



Ali and Mark Thackeray and their daughter, Ruby, 3, react as they are presented with an envelope containing a cash donation, along with a free car, at Martins Collision Repair in Orem on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.


"It's the knowledge that people are there for you," said Ruby's father, Mark Thackeray. "That's more strengthening than anything we could ever receive."

In June, the parents were told that Ruby's treatment with immunotherapy wasn't working, so they won't have to continue to drive to California.

Ali Thackeray said the doctors told her they might find something to prolong Ruby's life, but they don't think they'll find a cure.

For now, the mother said their family enjoys the time they have to be together, including going on family trips and swimming together with Ruby and their two other daughters.

The family recently returned from a Make-A-Wish trip to Florida.

"We're just enjoying our time because we don't know how long it will be," Ali Thackeray said.

The family has a Go Fund Me account set up for Ruby's treatments. 

We would like to thank Deseret News for reprint permission.

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