East Moline family gets free car to visit son with Leukemia in Peoria

MOLINE, Illinois-- An East Moline sixth-grader has been battling Leukemia since December 2018. Now his family is getting some much-needed help from the community.

Latonya Thomas says her son wasn't feeling well one day in December. After a trip to the hospital, he was diagnosed with cancer. He's been in a Peoria hospital ever since.

"This has been extremely hard on me and my family," she says. "(Evan has) made some improvements. He's doing okay. This ordeal we are experiencing is very, very scary."

Latonya says the family car broke down a few weeks later. She's been able to get a free bus pass to visit her son, but her husband Aaron and other children have had to coordinate on the weekends if everyone wants to visit.

Latonya didn't know a group of people was working to help her family out.

Evan's teachers at Glenview Middle School started a GoFundMe Page for the family, raising more than $2,000. That's when a Moline police officer with a special mission heard about the family's troubles.

"I just knew immediately that it was something I wanted to be a part of," Officer Patrick Moody says.

Officer Moody got in touch with Lisa Cantrell and Margo Miller, teachers at Glenview, to coordinate some more fundraising for the family. He also the Moline Municipal Credit Union and Silvis Cheap Cars on board, too, to give the Thomas family a 2005 Ford Freestyle.

So when Cantrell and Miller brought Latonya to Moline Municipal Credit Union on Tuesday, Latonya thought she was just picking up the check from the GoFundMe account. She had no idea about the car or the additional $3,000 Glenview raised.

"I can't believe this! I can't stop shaking! I got a car!" she yelled.

Latonya says right after the surprise, they were heading to Peoria to visit Evan.

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