The family needed a lot of money, and you literally could count on one hand how many 1972 Chevy Chevelles were available across the country. Yet when we started talking about the 16-year old with Stage IV cancer whose dream was to own that iconic muscle car something amazing started to happen.
Someone donated $2,000; another donated $1,500. Dozens parted with tens and twenties. The day after our story aired I got a call from someone in California who wanted to know how much it would take to put the donation fund "over the top." I said they needed another $4,000 to get them to $15,000.
A few hours later, someone anonymously donated $4000 to the website. That same night I heard from the head of the Colorado Auto Dealers Association. "How could we help?" he asked.
The following day, I got a call from Joe Negri, the Senior Director of Advertising and Marketing with AutoNation, Inc. in Colorado. "I think I have found the car," he told me. On Craig's List there was a royal blue, 1972 Chevelle for sale for $15,000. Negri said he thought it was in excellent condition.
The GO Automotive Group agreed to buy the car before selling it to Austin's family. The GO Collision Center would detail it and paint it with the white racing stripes that Austin had talked so much about.
And everyone would do their best to keep it a secret from Austin for as long as possible.
Shortly into the process it was suggested that someone should try to get the car into the Rocky Mountain Auto Show at the Colorado Convention Center. Austin's mother told us she thought that was an excellent idea.
One week later, Austin Williams walked into the convention center unprepared for what was about to happen. He was tired that day. His skin looked a little yellow. His mom was worried about jaundice.
Austin was thinking about asking for a wheelchair when his mom walked up to him and asked him if he wanted to see his car. The 16-year-old with the freshly printed driver's permit got up and walked to a spot in the corner of the convention center hall.
"What do you think?" she asked as tears started to come down her cheeks.
"It's perfect," replied Austin.
Who knows what will happen to Austin Williams and his 1972 Chevelle. There are more than a few people around here who hope he's able to drive it for years to come. Austin says he wants to take a road trip to Kentucky to visit a friend in the Army.
His mom just wants him to enjoy it. "I think it's going to give him hope. I can just see him, see him behind the wheel, just cruising," she told me one day with a big smile on her face.
Of course, for now, either she or her husband will be in the front passenger seat along with Austin. It's a lot of car for a 16-year-old. Everyone knows that.
But as proof of just how serious this is, consider what happened just hours after we shot some video of Austin driving off the car dealer's lot.
Daelyn Larche-Sigman took her son to the emergency room at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center. His jaundice was getting worse and she was worried about his liver.
Thankfully, the initial tests came back without any sign of something incredibly serious (beyond the fact of him having inoperable cancer), but this is going to be a long road.
Austin knows that, his mom knows that, and all of his friends are well aware of it.
But at least for now he's got a 1972 Chevelle to lead him down that road.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)