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BIKER NEWS: Biker group helps heat a family's home

BIKER NEWS -- KUSA - A Denver woman has a long list of thank you cards to write to a group of bikers who stepped up to help her fami...



BIKER NEWS -- KUSA - A Denver woman has a long list of thank you cards to write to a group of bikers who stepped up to help her family.

Michelle McFarlin says she never thought help would come from a group of strangers.

Eight years ago, McFarlin became an incomplete quadriplegic following a pool-diving accident. The accident left her with only limited hand and arm movement.

McFarlin, a mother to two teenage girls, is confined to a wheelchair and can't work. Her family struggles financially. When her furnace broke down, she didn't have many places she could turn for help.

Steve Lawrence, a heating repairman, and his biker buddies came to the rescue.

"I just felt compelled that this is something I needed to do," said Lawrence. "I'm a very soft-hearted person. After meeting Michelle and talking with her, it just kind of touched my heart."

Lawrence answered a call to check out McFarlin's furnace at her West Evans Avenue home a month and a half ago as the temperatures started to drop.

He fixed the furnace, but just two days before Thanksgiving and the coldest stretch of the season to hit Denver so far, McFarlin's furnace died. Lawrence returned to her home and told her she needed a new furnace, something that could cost up to $3,200.

McFarlin didn't have the money to pay for a new heater for her family. She and her daughters struggled to stay warm.

"Me and the girls have been sleeping in one room together with the door closed at night," McFarlin said. "We'd get up and it's freezing cold."

That didn't sit well with Lawrence.

He knew he could do something and he reached out to his biker buddies for help.

Lawrence posted in the Facebook group Colorado Bikers, a group of about 4,500 members, and asked for guidance.

"I didn't know where else to turn. I knew I could count on my biker community," said Lawrence. "They did exactly what I thought I'd do. They stepped up and the outpouring was tremendous."

A few members began organizing a fundraiser to help the family. Then came something unexpected. A stranger contacted Lawrence and said he'd donate a furnace if Lawrence donated his time and labor to install it.

Lawrence was sold.

"I've shed a lot of tears over this. I couldn't believe the outpouring. It's tears of happiness. I just couldn't believe it," he said.

Lawrence installed the furnace Wednesday. For McFarlin, Christmas came early.

"I love you, Steve. Thank you. Thank you," McFarlin said while giving Lawrence a hug Wednesday. "This is the most amazing thing of my life. You're my Santa Claus."

The fundraiser planned for McFarlin and her family will go on as planned this Friday, and it will help make her family's Christmas a little brighter. The group will donate all the money they raise to buy Christmas presents for McFarlin and her daughters.

"You do hear biker group, and they don't have the best wrap," said McFarlin. "But, I'll tell you what, {these} guys have been some of the neatest and best people brought into my life like angels. Like angels."

The fundraiser is Friday evening, Dec. 4th at Grogan's Pub on Coronado Parkway.

McFarlin says she and her daughters have a lot of work to do. They plan to write thank you cards and personally thank everyone at Friday's fundraiser.

For now, McFarlin's home is warm. Her Christmas will be brighter thanks to a generous repairman.

"I feel this is what our world needs is kindness," Lawrence said. "I would hope someday when I was in need that someone would step up and help me."

This article was first published on December 2, 2015
Get a copy of 9 News or go to www.9news.com for more stories.

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