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How Carmelo Anthony delivered a Christmas blessing to this teen cancer survivor & his family

Prepare to grab a box of tissues.

New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony made Christmas for a 17-year-old cancer survivor and his family on Sunday.

The Carmelo Anthony Foundation, in conjunction with the Garden of Dreams Foundation, surprised Jarell Lara and his family with a 2017 Kia Sorento before the Knicks' Christmas Day showdown with the Boston Celtics. 

Photo: MSG Networks

Jarell was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis over 18 months ago and is now in remission. After having to go to body scans once a week to now only once every six months, doctors are optimistic about him conquering the disease.

Jarell's parents, Anne and Fernando, had to give up their jobs and move to another area in New York City to supplement his treatment needs and costs. Their previous car was so old, Jarell and his brother, Alixander, had to climb through the passenger seat to get in the back. Now, they won't have to struggle anymore.

“It hasn’t sunk in. It’s a blessing from God. There are so many people a player like Carmelo Anthony can help and he chose to help me. It’s the greatest Christmas you could ask for," Jarell told MSGNetworks.com.

Photo: MSG Networks

Jarell and Carmelo first met through the Make-A-Wish Foundation when Jarell got to attend a Knicks practice. “I’m a strong person. I never thought I wouldn’t make it. I had some tough days but on those days, knowing Carmelo had my back helped me get through," he said. 

His mother, Anne, knew about the surprise but didn't let on to it. She just said that they had been invited to the Christmas Day game. "We were sitting courtside before the game, watching them shoot. Carmelo came over and asked us to come with him. We went where they park the cars. He stepped aside and said, ‘Merry Christmas.’ I think that’s what he said. I’m not sure I remember exactly. I thought someone was punking me."

Photo: MSG Networks

Carmelo said, "I don’t think you can put that in words. That is a family that I have gotten a chance to know. Just to see the expression on their faces, the son, one of the kids wanted to cry but held it in. That is what it is all about."

As Jarell's parents are able to now head back to work, this gift is surely going to be a blessing to them going forward.


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Trey Mangum is Assistant Editor at Blavity. Follow him on Twitter @treymangum or email him at trey@blavity.com

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