Albuquerque family donates classic car to raise money for families battling cancer


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After a tragic battle with cancer, an Albuquerque family donated their classic car to help other families going through the same experience. The 1956 Chevy Bel-Air just picked up more than $27,000 at an auction — money that will now go toward helping others here in New Mexico.

In late 2017, Patrick Chavez was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and just seven months later, he passed away. Shortly before his death, he and his wife were able to take part in a family cancer retreat through Cancer Services of New Mexico and wanted to pay it forward for other families who were fighting the same fight.

“My husband and I, we were both retired from Sandia so we had a lot of resources available to us, but the people that we saw at the retreat, probably didn’t,” said Sandra Chavez, Patrick’s wife. “Literally, two days before Pat died, we called Blaire and offered up his ’56 Bel Air. We felt that money would go a long way towards helping a lot of people.”

The car sold for more than $27,000, going to a man in North Carolina whose son is a recent cancer survivor. Chavez says they felt the need to give back to others and it’s the perfect way to honor her husband’s memory.

The money raised will help fund the family cancer retreat, which is a free experience for dozens of New Mexico families, providing families with everything from Q&A with doctors and specialists to spiritual healing and guidance.

“All of our programs are free but really our most known program is our family cancer retreat. That’s a free three-day educational program that we do for over 250 families each year and it provides them with a really in-depth exposure and aspect of managing the cancer journey,” said Blaire Larson, founder of Cancer Services of New Mexico. “It’s really a comprehensive looking at everything to do with managing the treatment and survival process for patients and their loved ones.”

The organization is hosting another free cancer retreat this fall from Sept. 13-15. While it is free, space is limited so interested families are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Cancer Services also offers a way for others to give back by sponsoring a family to attend.

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