NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Carmelo Anthony gave a Brooklyn teen with cancer a Christmas gift he’ll never forget Sunday.
Just before the Knicks played the Celtics, Anthony stunned 17-year-old Jarell Lara by presenting him with a 2017 Kia Sorenton in the Madison Square Garden parking garage.
Lara suffers from Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a rare form of cancer. He completed 18 months of chemotherapy treatment earlier this year, and his cancer is in remission.
The gift was a combined effort from Anthony’s foundation, the Garden of Dreams Foundation and Kia.
Lara’s mother, Anne, cried uncontrollably as Anthony handed the keys to the vehicle to Lara, who was wearing a No. 16 Knicks jersey with his first name written across the back.
“This is bigger than sport, bigger than basketball,” Anthony said, according to ESPN. “Two wonderful foundations coming together, making a family happy, making a dream come true. Giving them a day of happiness. The family, as you can see, the mom is still crying. It is a bit of a surprise. They had no idea it was coming, and I am happy that I was able to kind of make this happen.”
According to the New York Post, Lara’s family has struggled financially since he was diagnosed. His mother quit her job as a medical assistant to help bring him to appointments and be with him during his treatments. His family also moved from their home in Washington Heights to a more affordable place in the South Bronx.
The family currently shares one car that often breaks down. Its back doors no longer open, forcing Lara and his siblings to climb over the passenger seat in order to reach the back, according to the Post.
“It’s a blessing from God,” Lara told MSGNetworks.com. “There are so many people (that) Carmelo Anthony can help, and he chose to help me. It’s the greatest Christmas you could ask for.”