Woman with cancer given the gift of A/C during extreme heat - KCTV5

Woman with cancer given the gift of A/C during extreme heat

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GARDNER, KS (KCTV) -

You don't need a bank sign to tell you how hot it's been recently. Some people need more relief than others and a local company is offering that relief, free of charge.

Ashley Bilbrey likes to enjoy a moment of bliss, when she can, amidst a very tough year. At just 31 years old, Bilbrey is fighting stage four breast cancer. Her diagnosis changed her September wedding plans. Rather than an extravagant wedding, she and her sweetheart married on their couch after Bilbrey battled a tough round of chemo. They plan to walk down the aisle, party style, in the spring.

"I'll be able to know what it feels like to wear a wedding dress and walk down the aisle," said Bilbrey of the spring plans.

The last thing Bilbrey, a former hospice social worker, needs to deal with is the heat. But, on returning home from a recent trip to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, she and her husband were greeted with a broken air-conditioning unit.

"Oh my gosh. It's 90 degrees in here! We turned on the attic fan but it was just pulling the 100 degree heat from outside in so my husband and I slept with ice packs on our stomachs and head," said Bilbrey.

Bilbrey, her husband and 9-year-old dog Deacon headed to the in-laws while friends and family worked frantically to get the air conditioning running again. Knowing the family was financially strapped from the cancer treatments, friends called local heating and cooling companies seeing help. Their calls were answered by JD McGhee and his workers at LBA Heating and Cooling.

"I said, ‘Give me the address. We'll take a look and see what we can do,'" said McGhee.

The Merriam-based company president made the trek to Gardner and decided to surprise the couple with repairs – something other companies had quoted as costing thousands of dollars – free of charge.

Bilbrey's husband got the good news from McGhee himself.

"He was so excited. He thanked me, he hugged me, said ‘I really appreciate it'. When he did that, I knew they were pretty desperate," said McGhee.

For Bilbrey, the labor of love is immeasurable.

"It's been so nice and relaxing to be able to be back at home be in my bed. You just get a sense of comfort so it's not just about replacing the A/C - they're doing a lot more. They're providing us a sense of comfort and being back home," said Bilbrey.

For McGhee, it's more than just a nice gesture – he's recently been touched by cancer in his own life and had a message for Bilbrey.

"When I met her, I told her it's tough but don't give up. Keep fighting. She's a good girl, she's a good girl," said McGhee.

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