East Moline family receives free car allowing family to visit son in hospital

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MOLINE, Illinois (KWQC) - Latonya Thomas says she and her husband moved there family to the Quad Cities because she wanted a better life for her kids. She says she lost a son five years ago to a gunshot wound in the head. And when her daughter moved here a year ago and found her family an apartment they all moved here. Latonya says it was about "bettering her kids' life." And says now she doesn't have to worry when they're playing in the front yard or walking around. Today Officer Patrick Moody surprised Latonya with a car. It's his fifth annual car give away to a family in need. And Latonya says this is just another example for her kids of how good people can be.
Latonya's 11-year-old son was diagnosed with Leukemia on December thirteenth. And is currently receiving treatment at the Children's Hospital in Peoria. Getting to him without a car has been difficult.
"He (Evan) called me this morning and asked me when I get to the hospital and be there and he was crying this morning," said Latonya. She said hearing him ask for her to come and not having a way to get to her son has been painful.
"I want to cry but see at home I can't. I can't cry at the hospital because I don't want to upset him and at home, I can't let him know through my voice either that I was crying," she says.
She says her son is extremely sick. "His health is still scary because with the chemo anything can happen. A scratch, a cough, any aspiration can invade on his recovery. He can't eat everything, he can't go out of his room. He's in isolation." For Latonya, her husband her kids, this car is more than just a mode of transportation.
"I can wake up and go to him, I can wake up and go to him. I'm going to say it again. I can wake up and got to him. I can just stay there. I don't have to wait for the bus I don't have to wait for a ride. Because God done provide me a way to go straight to the hospital," she said through a big smile.
Prior to receiving this car, Latonya had to depend on bus transportation and the help of her daughter to get to and from Peoria. Latonya says she's grateful that St Jude has been helping to provide round trip bus tickets for her to visit her son. But "they didn't provide bus transportation for the kids. There was only one bus ticket per family."
So when she, her husband and Evan's brothers and sisters wanted to go visit him. Her daughter Cashay says "we would have to like wait till the weekend for my sisters and we have to wait for her car to get there."
"And then she works two jobs," added Latonya.
That's when the community stepped in. Teachers and administrators at Glenview Middle School came together to launch a go fund me page, which has raised several thousand dollars for the family.
"Whether you're a parent or not when you're a teacher you're involved in the school," says Evan's 6th-grade social studies teacher at Glenview Middle School, Margo Miller.
"And in their lives," added Talia Gryp, Glenview's secretary.
Lisa Cantrell, Evan's 6th grade language arts teacher at Glenview Middle School added in unison with Margo and Talia, "there our kids."
Officer Patrick Moody says some friends shared the gofundme page with him when they saw that the Thomas family didn't have a car.
"Once I read it I was like yeah I'm in," said Moody.
"The school district was behind doing this fundraiser and we're going to double up so they get the money and they get the car," he added.
Officer Moody teamed up with Municipal Credit Union who paid for the vehicle which was provided at a reasonable price by cheap cars in Silvis. Officer Moody has covered taxes and registration and a full tank of gas. And insurance is covered as well.
Connie Adkison, President, and CEO of Moline Municipal Credit Union say "you know you don't get better people than the Midwest they're always helping each other out."
So where is she heading off to now?
"When I get through with you all I can go straight to the hospital."