NewsUplifting Arizona


Chandler teen battling cancer surprised with car for sweet sixteen

Julia sweet 16.png
Posted at 8:57 PM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 00:48:52-05

CHANDLER, AZ — Homemade signs pointed the way for hundreds of friends, neighbors, and strangers ready to show their love for a young girl named Julia Mitchell taking on the fight of her life.

“So excited,” said Katey McPherson.

“Delivery time,” said Sandra Row.

A week ago, Katey wrote a simple Facebook post from the heart, sharing Julia’s journey over the last six months battling a rare form of cancer. She’d never met Julia herself but struck up a friendship with her mom online.

“Cancer just stinks, we’ve all been touched by it but to be so young, and to have such a rare form of it, and to not know what tomorrow brings is just heartbreaking,” said Katey.

Julia had been saving her money to buy her first car when a tumor was found in her hip. It’s been removed but she now faces the daunting task of going through chemotherapy. So Katey rallied the community, who raised thousands of dollars to make sure Thursday, on her sixteenth birthday, Julia got the surprise of a lifetime.

“I heard her story through the Facebook post and then I reached out to Katey saying how can I help,” said Sandra Row.

She helped by donating $5,000. More donations rolled in, and eventually, Van Buick GMC in North Scottsdale took care of the rest. They delivered a baby blue VW Beetle for her sweet sixteen. A parade of cars, motorcycles, and law enforcement escorted the gift to a teenager soon to be lost for words.

“That’s your new car, that’s for you,” shouted Katey as she pulled the car into the driveway.

“You’re joking,” said Julia with a huge smile.

Both Julia and her mother were stunned by the overwhelming kindness of a very special community, making sure she’d never face this all too familiar foe alone.

“It’s really overwhelming,” said Julia’s mother Wendy wiping away tears.

After getting a closer look at her new ride, Julia could only describe it one way.

“I love it,” said Julia. “I was not expecting this at all.”

For the hundreds that made this day so memorable, it’s really the only reaction they were hoping for.

“If we can give her a light at the end of the tunnel to strive for, something that helps her look forward to being a kid again when she beats this, that’s what it’s all about,” said Katey.