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Posted: July 21, 2014

With 4 months to live, father takes family to Disneyland one last time

By Azenith Smith

KTVU – Bay Area

NEWARK, Calif. —

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This week, a 36-year-old California father who has cancer will be heading on what he considers a trip of a lifetime with his two young girls, thanks to the community’s support.

It may be one of Michael Reyes’ last trips; his doctors told him that he has only four months to live.

Back in 2011, Reyes was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.

After battling the disease for years, last month, doctors told him he likely won't make it past October.

“One day, I’m there watching their favorite show with them,” Reyes said. “The next day I’m gone, and that hurts me."

No one took the news harder than his girls, ages 8 and 9.

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“When I grow up,” said 9-year-old Rita Reyes, “I want my children to meet him."

On the family's bucket list is going to Disneyland one last time.

However, with huge medical costs, the trip was unlikely to happen until a co-worker of Reyes' wife stepped in.

“It just broke me,” said Teresa Griffard, who set up a GoFundMe account. “How can you not be broken about learning about a family going through something so horrible, especially with two young girls?"

Griffard set up a GoFundMe account and within weeks, it raised more than $4,000 – enough for the trip. Many of the donations came from strangers.

“You don’t realize how many people do care, do have a heart until they are given the opportunity to show it,” Reyes said.

For a few days, the Reyes family can forget the father is dying of cancer and make lasting memories there together as a family.

“Cancer is not going to kill my spirit,” Reyes said. “It’s not going to kill my will to live every day that that I have.”

The Reyes family leaves for Disneyland on Tuesday.


Michael Reyes and daughter

Michael Reyes and daughter

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