SEWELL, N.J. (CBS) — A South Jersey man is making children happy with a gift of kindness. Rich Nardiello is making children who are fighting cancer custom cars.
Since August 2018, Nardiello has transformed his Sewell, New Jersey, basement into a kind of magical workshop.
“People have driven by and said, what is this guy doing?” Nardiello said.
It may look like an aisle in a major toy store, but this is where Nardiello creates PopPop’s Kustom Kars.
“Probably in the next one or two months, the grand total will probably be about 50,” he said.
Each and every one is specifically designed for a child battling pediatric cancer.
“On the wall is about 14,” Nardiello said. “My warrior wall. It creates smiles for me. It just motivates me.”
Nardiello devotes his time, money and energy creating these gifts despite having limited use of one side of his body because of a stroke, a disability he says pales in comparison with what the young boys and girls fighting cancer are facing.
“I look at what some of these kids go through,” Nardiello said. “There is no way I’m going to complain. There is no chance I will ever complain about pain or mobility or stuff like that. It’s just not going to happen.”
Each of the custom-made vehicles has a child battling cancer behind it — including little Lucy McCabe.
“We know that there are going to be tough times ahead,” Mandy McCabe, Lucy’s mom, said.
Lucy is just 3 years old and for the past two years, she’s fought an aggressive cancer. Mandy says their family’s focus is on making Lucy happy.
“Minnie Mouse is her absolute favorite,” Mandy said.
So it’s easy to see why she loves the custom Minnie Mouse car that Nardiello delivered a few months ago.
“This past June, she got her car — which came at a really good times,” Mandy said. “Because Lucy, unfortunately, has relapsed again and there are no further treatment options. This is going to be in our hearts forever, this car. Seeing her face when she got the car was such … she was ecstatic.”
It’s a memory that Mandy and her family will cherish, and it’s one that Nardiello hopes to keep creating for other families as long as he can.
“I’m not going to stop. I’ll never stop,” Nardiello said. “The only way I’ll ever stop is I tell folks is, you know what, pediatric cancer stops.”