ENF gives a lift to sick children in need - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

ENF gives a lift to sick children in need

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Call it door-to-door kindness. The Emilio Nares Foundation gives rides to needy children fighting terrible diseases. It's a not just a ride to the doctor -- it's a lift of the spirits.

A ride comes right to Leslie Diaz's door whenever she needs it. And she needs it a lot.

"This ride helps me a lot. It's really helpful," Leslie said.

It's her regular ride to Rady Children's Hospital for about three years now. Armando is kind of a personal chauffer and grandfather figure, and he likes to talk.

"He talks a lot," she joked. "But it's good. It's a good thing."

Armando's drive to comfort sick children is fueled by his own painful loss to cancer.

"My wife, she lasted for 14 months, suffering," Armando said.

So this is a merciful lift. Otherwise, young patients like Leslie would have to take the bus. And at the end of a potentially hours-long bus ride with transfers, the young patients are dropped off at a bust stop that's still about a half-mile walk to Rady Children's Hospital.

"I would come for blood draws and it would take like five minutes, and it would take two hours to ride back. It would be really stressful for me and get me more sick," Leslie said.

The trip home is just as bad. That's why these vans are so important.

"Every year, every month, we see an increase in ridership," Richard Nares said.

Richard Nares and his wife Diane started ENF when they lost their son Emilio to leukemia.

"It feels like I'm doing my job, and you know that's our commitment. After Emilio passed away we wanted to help and this seems to be the best way to do that," Richard said.

The Ride with Emilio program is transformational, with young patients and their parents finding they have a new family in the staff of ENF. They offer rides and other support for needy families fighting serious childhood disease.

The grandfather figure in the family is the man Leslie knows she can count on, rain or shine.

"Armando's wonderful. He just makes the ride so fun. He makes you feel comfortable," Leslie said.

"I know all the families. They like me because the way I treat them. It's something I have in my heart, to treat everyone good," Armando said.

Harvest for Hope is a fundraiser for the Emilio Nares Foundation, with more than 15 restaurants and wineries serving up their best. It takes place Sunday at the San Diego Wine and Culinary Event Center downtown from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. CBS News 8's Carlo Cecchetto will serve as emcee.

Some of the footage used in the above video report was shot using a GoPro camera.

 

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