Teri Vancetvance@nevadaappeal.com

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December 18, 2012
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Community grants wish for cancer survivor

When it came time to choose a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, 16-year-old McKenna Mitchell knew just what she wanted. She turned 16 in May, nine months after completing chemotherapy treatments, and on the same day, passed her driver's test.Next came her first car, a 1997 Toyota 4Runner with more than 200,000 miles. And it needed work. So she asked for a car makeover. However, the foundation was limited in what it could do, so it turned to the community for help.Ted Rupert read about McKenna's plight in the Nevada Appeal.“I said, ‘That's just up my alley,'” he recounted. “I can help out.”General manager of Rupert's Auto Body, Rupert took the project to his employees. “Everybody said it's something they would do,” he said. “We're like a family here, so we do family things.”The Carson City body shop donated the exterior painting and miscellaneous upgrades.Other businesses helped as well.Les Schwab, 3020 S. Carson St., donated wheels, rims and tires. Best Buy in Carson City provided the sound system.Reno Toyota performed a tune-up and general maintenance on the engine as well as wheel alignment.Sun King Window Tint in Carson City tinted the windows.Goodwin & Son Auto Interiors in Reno had agreed to clean the interior. Instead, they replaced the carpets and head liner. They also replaced the seats, and embroidered McKenna's initials and a cancer ribbon in the upholstery. “They did a pretty awesome job on it,” said Heidi Jones, McKenna's mother.McKenna, who was presented the refurbished car during the weekend, was surprised by the work they'd done. “I wasn't expecting it to look like it did inside,” she said. “I really like it.”Make-A-Wish also presented McKenna with a car alarm system. And she drove to school Monday in a car that looks new again. She said she was grateful for those who worked to make her wish a reality.“I was excited,” she said. “It's really nice.”Rupert said helping out was a natural response. “It's something we wouldn't pass up,” he said. “This was her dream, and we were happy to fulfill it.”

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Dec 18, 2012 02:32AM Published Dec 18, 2012 02:30AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.