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First Person: Diane And Richard Nares

Richard and Diane Nares and their son, Emilio are pictured in this undated ph...

Credit: Richard and Diane Nares

Above: Richard and Diane Nares and their son, Emilio are pictured in this undated photo.

GUESTS:

Diane Nares

Richard Nares

Transcript

Diane and Richard Nares have been married for 24 years. They met through a mutual friend.

"When we had our first date it was just like just instantaneous for me, I just knew it was her," Richard said.

"We had so much fun together and I remember thinking in my mind, 'this is like being with my best friends'," Diane said.

Their son, Emilio, was born in 1995, two years after they married.

But their happy lives changed in an instant. Just before Emilio turned three years old he was diagnosed with leukemia. He endured nearly three years of treatment, including participating in a bone-marrow transplant study at Boston Children's Hospital. Richard was his donor.

"It just meant a lot to me to do that, but it was his chance at life so it was critical, it was frightening, but not for the procedure, it was just that this was his last hope," Richard said.

It was not enough to save 5-year-old Emilio.

"Unfortunately just too many infections, too much chemotherapy, too much, too much, and we lost him predominantly due to organ failure in Boston," Diane said.

RELATED: Foundation Gives A Hand To Parents Of Children Struggling With Cancer

A few years after Emilio's death the Nares' began talking about how they could help other families with children fighting cancer.

While undergoing treatment with Emilio, they remembered noticing other families with children who had cancer missing critical appointments. Others rode the bus up to 4 hours in order to bring their child to a doctor's visit. That's when they knew how they could help.

It started with Richard driving two children and their parents to their appointments in his own car.

In 2003 they co-founded the Emilio Nares Foundation. Today the foundation has 7 vans. It helps approximately 225 patients get to 2500 appointments each year in San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties.

The Foundation is holding its annual fundraising event this weekend at the Downtown Central Library.

Special Feature First Person

KPBS Midday Edition's First Person series tells the stories of average and not-so-average San Diegans in their own words. Their experiences, both universal and deeply personal, offer a unique lens into the news of the day.

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