ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – Fourteen-year old Hanna Berg is battling leukemia. Her mother, Tracy Jackson, has been at her side all the way.
“She’s had treatments on and off all year long,” Jackson said. “She hasn’t been able to go to school. Its been hard.”
And even harder for the family, since they don’t have a car.
“It just boinked out on me,” Jackson said. “No money to fix it, I can’t work right now. Its hard to work without a car.”
“Finding rides is hard because people have jobs and they have lives they have to go and do,” Berg said. “It’s hard to find a ride.”
The pair have remained in their apartment, unable to go to the mall, the grocery store or anywhere else without the help of others.
“It’s been hard to get her medications and the things she needs,” Jackson said.
Lea Mattson is the Arlington teacher assigned to teach Hanna at home. She went online to ask her friends what they could do to help. Mattson hoped to find resources like free rides to help the family. She received far more.
“Within about four hours, I had a friend text and said I’m giving you ‘X’ amount of money, go buy her a car,” Mattson said. “I was just overwhelmed.”
Wednesday, Hanna and her mother received an early Christmas surprise. Mattson told the two to come to their apartment complex’s office so a reporter could do a story about the Arlington School District’s Homebound Instruction program. Instead, when she arrived at the office Mattson handed Jackson a set of car keys.
“Oh my gosh!” Jackson said breathlessly as she walked out into the parking lot to look at her new car. “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!”
“You’ve got a car, ” Mattson said smiling.
The used, red Ford Taurus showed some signs of wear. But its former owner was planning on giving the car to his daughter and had just refurbished the drive train. The used car was the most beautiful car Jackson she’d seen, Jackson said.
“Oh, my gosh Lea!” Jackson said with tears running down her face. “I’ll never have to worry about her getting a treatment again!”
“It couldn’t have gone to a better family,” Mattson said.
“We have a car now!” Berg exclaimed. “We can go and do things and not rely on other people.”
“Now I can go back to work and we can get back to normal,” Jackson said. “That’s what we want. We want normal again.”
Other people had donated gift cards to several clothing stores and to a movie theater. Now, not only do Hanna and Tracy have somewhere to go, they have a way to get there.
“I beat cancer this year so I’m alive for this Christmas,” Berg said. “So, I’m happy for that. Now, we have a car for a Christmas present and that’s even better! It’s going to be a good Christmas. A really good Christmas.”
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