PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Just three months ago, Wesley and Natalie Harris of Waynesburg never would have thought they would be spending Christmas at UPMC Children’s Hospital with their 6-year-old son, separated from their other two children.
Instead, they have essentially been living at the hospital for about two months as Jax Harris battles Burkitt’s Lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer.
Natalie says it started when she noticed a bump on her son’s eye.
“[It] turned out to be the worst news of our life,” she said.
Not long after Jax’s cancer diagnosis, he was admitted to UPMC Children’s Hospital. His parents have spent nearly every moment alongside him as he undergoes intense treatment.
That means the Harris’ are rarely home.
“In two months, we’ve been home like six and a half days,” Natalie said. “So, Wes and I sleep in his room with him.”
At the time of Jax’s diagnosis, the family was also working with home remodeling company Charm Builders to renovate and repair their roof.
Natalie says completing the project required frequent correspondence over the phone with Charm Builders and asking her mother to meet the company at the house.
She says the company knew about Jax’s diagnosis and were sensitive to the family’s situation, but she never expected the incredible act of kindness from them on Dec. 18 when the project was finished.
Though the Harris’ expected a bill for nearly $8,000, the invoice said there was no balance due.
Natalie says she initially thought it was a mistake and texted the employee she had been working with.
“No, the invoice is correct,” read the text message. “You owe Charm Builders $0! You just take care of your son and hope he gets better that you all can come back home. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!”
Since Jax’s diagnoses, Natalie says neither she nor her husband have been able to work, so the gesture from the Ohio-based company was overwhelming.
“I just started crying,” she said. “I kind of was in shock. I kind of still am.”
KDKA reached out to Charm Builders, who insisted the focus remain on Jax and the Harris family.
In an email, the owner of the company said, “we are only trying to do what we are here on earth to do – help out each other regardless of race, religious beliefs, or background.”
On Christmas Day, one week after receiving the $0 invoice, the Harris family is still feeling the impact.
“It’s been extremely helpful,” Natalie said. “It’s making us be able to pay our bills and provide a Christmas for Jax and our family.”
Jax’s family created a Facebook page to provide updates on his battle with cancer.