CHANDLER, AZ — A Valley family struggling with piling up medical bills for their youngest child battling cancer got a major gift of relief this holiday.
Not long after Joe and Nicole Pontarelli closed on their Chandler home, they noticed cracks in their garage ceiling.
Leaks in their tile roof made occasional rain feel like monsoon season for them.
Those cracks looked tiny compared to what they learned about their daughter just months later.
At the start of her Eighth-grade year, Kiara was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.
"I was hearing the doctor, but I wasn't processing the words he was saying, everything kind of blurred," said Kiara, about learning she had cancer at such a young age.
The long-bone cancer kept her away from the pool volleyball she loves and the lack of muscle in her hands and arms kept her from playing clarinet in the school band where she had earned first chair.
"You want to be normal, but you can't because you're going through something that makes that impossible,” said Kiara.
Now at 15 years old, with a driver’s permit burning a hole in her pocket, Kiara has had nearly a dozen surgeries on her bones.
The Pontarelli’s say they have an uphill battle of medical bills still piling up. And those cracks in the garage ceiling from the roof damage aren't getting any smaller.
Good thing the hearts of those who know the Pontarelli's are bigger than any needed repairs at their home.
Nicole's employer was listening to the radio one day about a roofing company looking to give away a free roof to a family in need. Her employer nominated her.
American Roofing and Waterproofing says the Pontarelli’s were one of about 30 people who were nominated.
On Thursday morning, they woke up to the welcome sound of 12 roofers hammering and nailing away on the roof of their mid-size Chandler home.
Scott Lewis with American Roofing and Waterproofing estimates the new roof is valued at over $10,000.
"We found a family that was even more deserving than what we thought we would run into,” said Lewis.
One less thing to worry about, to care for those who matter most.
“To have that taken off our plate, it was amazing,” said Nicole holding back tears.
Kiera says she’s had 11 surgeries all before she’s eligible to get her driver’s license.
She’s spent enough time inside the hospital to tell us when she grows up, she wants to be an anesthesiologist.