SPOKANE - A local family is profusely thanking the community after KHQ viewers rallied together to purchase a special needs bicycle for their son.
Earlier this month, we introduced you to 20-year-old Nate, aka "Nate the Great." His mother, Debi Parker, says every day they get with Nate is a true gift. He was diagnosed with an incredibly rare condition that forces him to fight for his life every single day.
"He's in so much pain sometimes," his mother Debi Parker said. "It's the hardest thing. I just want to help him."
Debi says her son was diagnosed with a rare illness called ATR-X. His older brother Dominic had the same thing. It eventually killed him.
"Nathaniel was just eight months old (when his brother passed,)" Debi said.
Each day is a struggle. Debi is constantly in a state of worry. She does everything she can to keep her son comfortable.
"He is the most beautiful person I've ever met in my life," she said. "I can't believe he's my son. He's my heart. My warrior."
Through tears, she told KHQ all she wants is to see her son happy.
"You've never been loved until you've been loved by Nathaniel," she said.
Debi says Nathaniel loves being outside. The family has always dreamed of taking him on a bicycle ride, but the bicycles that would work for him are way out of their price range.
"Insurance won't cover it," she said. "They are thousands, yes thousands of dollars."
So when the family heard that one of the bicycles they had been dreaming of for years was being given away in a contest, they were in shock. Nathaniel quickly got the 50 votes needed to even quality.
Here's what his sister wrote on Nathanial's page in the contest:
"We can’t afford to buy Nathaniel a bike, these special needs bikes are very expensive.
He deserves to be able to go out & have something special to do just like every other little boy or girl.
It’s a dream of ours to be able to go on bike rides & give him this social ability in a way.
It’s a very rare terminal illness what my brother has.
He can’t walk or talk so it’s very limited to the things he can do in the outside world.
This bike would give him a better quality of life."
The contest is called the "Great Bike Giveaway." It's simple, whoever gets the most votes by February 27th, wins. When we first told you this story, Nathaniel wasn't even in the top five.
"That's why my daughter contacted (Hayley,)" Debi said. "We just need her. We need some help."
Minutes after our initial story aired on KHQ. Nate shot to first place. Days later, he fell to second. With just one day left to vote our KHQ viewers, many of whom have never met Nate, stepped up and purchased the bicycle for Nate. One viewer who didn't want to be identified told us he just didn't want to "risk Nate not having the bicycle he deserves."
The family was left in tears, speechless by the kindness. Debi says she was intially hesitant to even do the story because she didn't want to hear any potential hurtful comments. She says recently they had some painful experiences that the family very guarded.
"Nate understands what's happening around him and the way people feel about him," she said. "We actually had a little boy say something incredibly hurtful that I don't want to repeat now in front of Nathaniel, I've grown to where I started keeping him secluded at home. I was pushing everyone away. I was not trusting anybody. I'm very careful where I take him because I don't ever want his feelings to be hurt."
Debi says the incredible generosity of our KHQ viewers reminded her, when she need it most, that this world is full of kindness.
"I told him, I said, 'Nathaniel the world loves you they just needed to see you, to meet you," she said. "Hayley made it so the world could see you. This will change my son's life. I can't thank (Spokane) enough."