COSTA MESA, Calif. - The Costa Mesa police officers' association, with one officer leading the effort, helped bring some joy to a family after a year of hardship.
They teamed up with bicycle store, The Cyclist, to surprise the victim of a burglary who's also fighting cancer.
Over the holidays, the staff at The Cyclist in Costa Mesa sold hundreds of bikes, but one of their first sales in 2018 might mean the most to them. A red adult tricycle was displayed in the front of the store, a special gift purchased by the Costa Mesa POA.
"It was really disheartening to hear that somebody going through such a tough time would have their personal belongings taken from them," Officer Trevor Jones said.
Phil Cartier bought a similar bike in November. He's fighting Stage IV pancreatic cancer and this was his only way to exercise. His wife and best friend spent two weeks putting it together. He rode it around their neighborhood anytime he was feeling up for it.
Phil and his wife, Katie, are selling their home of 20 years, due in part to mounting medical bills. As they began moving out, someone broke in and stole the bike that was in storage.
"Selling this house is hard, the cancer is hard, and then having somebody violate you like that was just the last straw," Katie said.
But, with the help of the police officers' association, Jones bought Phil a new bike, lock and registration and surprised him with it.
"I'm in love with it, it's better than the one that was stolen," Phil said.
He also couldn't stop saying thank you and didn't waste any time taking it for a ride.
For a family who's been through so much, Katie couldn't help but get emotional at seeing her husband's joy while riding.
"He's the love of my life, and the fact that he's happy is wonderful," she said with tears in her eyes.
Phil is in a clinical trial at Hoag hospital, and within the last year, the cancer has not spread.