It had been a difficult week for Rosa Perez and her family. A special wheelchair that had belonged to Perez’s four-year-old daughter was stolen from their front yard over the weekend. The Santa Ana, California mom admitted that the theft had been a real blow.
Her daughter, who was born without legs, relied on the motorized chair to get around. And her family said they had no idea how they would afford to buy her another.
“I still can’t believe someone would do that,” Perez told the OC Register a few days after the incident. “We have a lot of difficulties already and especially with [my daughter’s] care, so when [the theft] happened, I was so angry.”
On Thanksgiving Day, however, the story of the stolen wheelchair took a happier turn when an “angel” reportedly swept in to alleviate the family’s worries.
According to NBC4, a woman named Joyce Brandman -- who first heard about the stolen wheelchair via a local news report -- gave Perez and her family a $10,000 check on Thursday to cover the cost of a new chair.
“What better gift can I give myself for the holidays than to reach out to help this child?” Brandman told NBC4.
“God is watching over you,” the woman is said to have told the family. “I hope I am your angel this holiday season, and I admire you very much for what you are doing for this child.”
Brandman is a philanthropist who lives in Beverly Hills, according to the OC Register. She is president of the Saul and Joyce Brandman Foundation, which funds medical, educational and Jewish causes and organizations.
Perez is said to have been “overcome with gratitude” at Brandman's gesture. “Tears streamed down her face as she viewed the check,” NBC4 said.
Perez had said in an earlier interview with the OC Register that she had only managed to buy her daughter's chair -- which police estimate to be worth around $10,000 -- with the help of an insurance program.
Without that assistance, Perez said she wouldn’t have been able to afford the device.
Her daughter, Milagros, whose name means “miracle” in Spanish, was born without legs and had several medical issues at birth, including a heart condition.
Since her wheelchair was stolen, the girl has reportedly been using a skateboard to get around.
This week, many strangers have stepped forward to give the family a helping hand.
Dozens of people have contributed to a GoFundMe campaign started by Perez; and officers at the Santa Ana Police Department have gone above and beyond to support the family, reportedly bringing them a full Thanksgiving dinner and a Christmas tree.
“Milagros is as tough as she is cute,” the police department wrote in a Facebook post this week. “Even through this tough situation she still continues to smile.”
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