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Houstonians step in to help Georgia family whose car tires were stolen by thieves

Friday, October 05, 2012

Laura Smith says she was so overwhelmed that she just started crying when she walked outside and saw that thieves had stolen all the tires off her family's car.

From Facebook messages to emails and a lot of phone calls, the family quickly learned they aren't alone here in Houston.

When the Smiths started out on their journey from Georgia to M.D. Anderson here in Houston, it was tough. They had to leave three of their children to get 19-year-old Grace to the world-class Texas Medical Center.

"She's in great spirits," Laura said.

Grace is battling sarcoma, an aggressive cancer. Doctors removed a 10-pound tumor but more have formed since then.

When Laura left the hotel Wednesday morning it was one more devastating blow.

"Why would somebody put bricks up under our car and then it dawned on me. I was like, 'Oh my gosh,'" Laura said.

Thieves had left them with no wheels to get back to the hospital.

But as word spread on the news and Facebook, the family couldn't believe the response.

"I've got a place you can stay, I'll bring you back and forth to your appointments, I've got a car you can borrow," Eric said of the offers he's received.

Help came from across the country to here in the Houston area -- a Pearland mom who has a son battling cancer to a League City tire shop.

"We have small town values," Discount Tire League City manager Charlie Luker said.

Luker says a longtime customer contacted them and asked if they could help.

"It's a personal thing. If I was in that situation, I would hope someone would step up and help me out," Luker said.

Now the Smiths are back to having a car they can actually drive to see Grace through her chemotherapy.

"She's in faith. She's believing in her miracle and we are right there with her," Smith said.

And somehow what happened in that hotel parking lot has helped them feel good in their daughter's hospital room.

"The small amount of devastation that we had in this bad thing has totally been turned around to a very uplifting, hopeful situation that has been 10 times better," Laura said.

The family learned they'll be staying in Houston much longer than they initially expected to see their daughter through treatment.

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