Redlands Fire Department surprises family in need for holidays after father passes away from cancer

Eric Resendiz Image
Friday, December 16, 2022
Redlands Fire Department surprises family whose father died of cancer
The Redlands Fire Department partnered with ABC7 to surprise a family in need during the holidays.

REDLANDS, Calif. (KABC) -- A Redlands mother and her teenage daughter were crying tears of joy when they were gifted a special surprise. This holiday season, Rachel and her daughter Taylor have been going through a difficult time and struggling to have the bare essentials like socks. This comes after the passing of Rachel's husband, Travis, who lost his battle with cancer in November.

"When you lose somebody, it's hard, and you don't understand, you know, what the future looks like," said Rachel.

The Redlands Fire Department wanted to help the family. The family was surprised with presents from the ABC7 Spark of Love toy drive. They also received $200 in gift cards and a $500 check.

"Just overwhelming and excited," Taylor described how she felt about the extra hand they received.

Rachel said her family has been on the giving end for Spark of Love and would donate toys, but now she is on the other end. Rachel reached out to ABC7 asking how she can be a recipient.

Rachel wrote: "I have spent days trying to find resources! Please - we are in the Inland Empire (Redlands) and would so love to know the resources available in our area!"

"And I've heard of Spark of Love, but I have never been on this side," said Rachel. "It is pretty neat to get to see what happens on this side of it, it feels nice."

Plus, it was a community effort to help the family, who also didn't have a Christmas tree. When a local hardware store found out, they stepped in and changed that by giving the mother and daughter a tree.

"Thank you for my community. Thank you for Redlands. Thank you for Spark of Love, Channel 7" said Rachel. "I sent an email not even thinking. I was just looking for a resource."

The family also received two special ornaments for their tree, an ABC7 Spark of Love ornament and one from the fire department.

"A lot of people going through challenging times. We would love to be able to take care of everybody on these situations," said Captain Ryan Gallagher with the Redlands Fire Department. "So, it is really special to us to be able to grab onto a family and take them this way."

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