D’Addario Nissan donates car to family in need

Alexa Rondon and her mother, Karen Flores, received a 2006 Nissan Altima, courtesy of D’Addario Nissan of Shelton, in order to make attending their doctor appointments as easy as possible. — Aaron Berkowitz photo

D’Addario Nissan of Shelton donated a 2006 Nissan Altima to a family struggling to make it to doctor’s appointments to receive cancer treatments.

After a very draining few months, and a tough journey ahead of them, both Alexa Rondon, 15, and her mother, Karen Flores, were ecstatic to learn that they would be driving to their Bridgeport home in a new car that had been given to them by Tom D’Addario of D’Addario Nissan in Shelton.

“I thought she was lying to me, but now that I’m here, all I can say is ‘wow,’” said Rondon with a big smile on her face.

But this well-deserved gift didn’t come without some extremely trying times. A year and a half ago, Flores learned that she had breast cancer.

Shortly after her diagnosis, Flores was let go from her job as a nanny because she was frequently unable to get to work because of her doctor’s appointments. Her unemployment ultimately resulted in her falling six months behind on her rent.

In an effort to keep from being evicted, Flores contacted Swim Across the Sound to see if the organization would be able to assist her in her time of need. Flores got hold of Lyn McCarthy, executive director of the St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation, which is a sponsor of Swim Across the Sound. McCarthy said that, fortunately, the foundation was able to help Flores keep her home.

But, unfortunately, Flores’s family’s troubles were not over.

Just a month and a half ago, Flores called the Swim organization looking for help again because Alexa had just been diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. With her daughter sick, Flores was unable to work and once again was on the verge of being evicted.

“She couldn’t work because she had to attend her own doctor’s appointments as well as her daughter’s. She told me that they were relying on her sister’s car to get to and from their appointments. It was heartbreaking,” said McCarthy, before explaining that Swim would once again help the family to keep their home.

With transportation obviously being an issue for the family, McCarthy told Flores she would do what she could to help them out.

That’s where the owner of D’Addario Nissan, Tom D’Addario, came into the equation.

D’Addario has been a longtime supporter of Swim Across the Sound and made a donation of a vehicle four years ago, according to McCarthy. When she learned that D’Addario would once again make a life-changing donation, McCarthy became emotional.

“I cried,” said McCarthy. “Words cannot express the gratitude for how great he’s been to us. We’re beyond thankful for him.”

Both Flores and Rondon said they were extremely grateful for and excited to drive off in their family’s new car.

“We didn’t expect it, so when we heard, we were amazed,” said Flores. “We’re going to go home to show it to my mom.”

Just one year too young to get behind the wheel herself, Alexa said that in a year she will learn to drive.

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