KGUN 9NewsSpirit of Southern Arizona


Tucson off-roading group lends helping hand to mom-in-need

Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 10:00:23-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — We all need a little more positive news in our lives, so KGUN 9 wanted to showcase a group that's giving families in Southern Arizona some support during tough times. It's a Facebook page called 520 Side By Side.

"It's an off-roading page for local riders to come together," says Cody Sanders, the Facebook Page Creator.

They're not always out tearing up the dirt of the desert, however. 520 SxS works with Diamond Children’s Hospital to deliver toys and other gifts to families in need.

"When I created this page, it was like, we're doing these rides and little events," says Sanders. "I was like, 'Why don't we get involved with the hospital? Let's do something crazy, let's do something different.' We took the initiative and just did it."

Taking the initiative is right. On this particular day, at Diamond Children's, we caught up with those on the other end of 520 SxS's good deeds.

"I was really, really sick," says Blanca Loera. "I ended up coming here for the emergency and they realized I had preeclampsia."

"Weighing in at a staggering 1.7 lbs., baby Violeta was born at just 26 weeks.

"She was intubated for like a month and a half," says Loera.

On top of that, Blanca had two other kids at home in the middle of a pandemic.

"They had to see me through binoculars from the parking lot," says Loera. "I had told them that day I'll be right back. I didn't see them from September 21st through October 5th."

Because this mother-daughter pair was in the hospital so long, getting the house ready for the arrival of a newborn wasn't really a possibility.

"I had already quit my job because they said she was supposed to be coming home," says Loera. "They told me I needed a crib and I didn't have my job anymore, so I think everything just hit me from everything that happened through the month."

That's where 520 SxS comes in.

"In less than a couple of hours, they were already at my house building a crib. And donations of diapers, clothes, so many things that I didn't even imagine," says Loera.

The gratitude goes both ways.

"Tears of joy. Let's put it that way," says Sanders.

Call it a story of strength, and an incredible homecoming.

"She's a little fighter," says Loera. "You have to have a lot of faith. Know that you can trust God and just keep going day by day."

Leave it to a group of off-roaders to bring some peace, compassion and hope to those in our community who could use an extra boost of sparkle.