PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - A boy with cancer was on his way to get treatment when his mom's van broke down. Word spread quickly and a lot of people stepped in to help save the day.
April McLeish's husband, Josh, has their 2009 Dodge Caravan up and running again after spending much of Wednesday under the hood of the van in the driveway of their Dover, Delaware, home. But Tuesday morning well that was another story.
"My van shut off on me," April told FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "Just completely shut off."
McLeish was making her weekly 80 miles each-way trip from Dover to Children's Hospital in Philadelphia with her 13-year-old son Thomas. He's undergoing chemotherapy for an inoperable brain tumor.
"I was in tears," said April. "I was crying. I didn't know what I was going to do. My husband was down with the flu. There was no way he could get up to Children's Hospital."
"I'm like what's going on? I'm scared," said Thomas.
They limped the van to CHOP and then explained their dilemma to their doctor. He contacted their social worker and she reached out to an organization called Kisses for Kyle, a Montgomery County based charity that helps families dealing with childhood cancer. The organization paid to have McLeish's van towed, then reached out to one of their volunteers, a veteran Philly cop named Tim McNicholas. He had just finished off a 9-hour bomb disposal shift and was ready to do some more good.
McNicholas drove April and Thomas to Dover then turned around and went to his home-- a nearly 4 hour favor--all for a stranger.
"It was so generous," said April. "I offered to give him some money for the gas. I offered to pay for tolls and to get him something to eat. He would except nothing from me."
More than a year ago, Thomas was given six months to live. He's not out of the woods just yet but with the kindness of strangers he keeps battling.
"I just keep fighting," he told Gordon. "Just doing my job."
"To know that there are people still people out there that do this kind of thing in this cruel world that we have now is amazing," April explained.
McNicholas and his wife-- also a Philly cop-- delivered presents to underprivileged kids at Christmas time in behalf of Kisses for Kyle.
When reached by phone near the end of his shift Wednesday, McNicholas downplayed his efforts, describing them as a little more than a taxi ride. For a family in need, it was much more than that.