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Utica Man stricken with cancer gets gift he will never forget

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A Utica man who decided to help those in need this holiday season by giving away hundreds of brand new, 'Dollar Store' type gifts says he has gotten the greatest Christmas present he could ever get.

George Wands and his wife Kimberly own the Mohawk St. Produce Stand in Utica and often help those in need all year long, by giving produce to many people of who can't really afford to pay.

The couple has also held giveaways on holidays before.

This Christmas they decided to give away boxes and boxes of 'Dollar Store' type gifts they purchased earlier this year. Everything from puzzles, to photo albums, to small toys for kids.

When we at News Channel 2 broadcast the information about the giveaway Sunday morning, many turned out Sunday afternoon.

Kimberly Wands says it was nice to see the smiles on the kids faces, who loved picking out the items, even though they were so inexpensive, 'To kids that young, price doesn't matter, they just love anything they can get their hands on."

Her husband George, who has meant so much to the community, was too ill to come outside on Sunday to see the joy of the kids up close.

George was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer two weeks ago and suffers from severe pain and has a hard time swallowing.

On Sunday, Kimberly broke down talking about how this might be George's last Christmas.

We aired her comments Sunday evening, along with the fact that any of the remaining gift items that were still left, would be available on Monday Christmas Eve.

Monday morning, a large crowd turned out, not to look through the remaining gifts, but to say thank you to George and Kimberly for all they have done, and ask Kimberly what they could do for her, "Me and my son come down here this morning and a guy from Frankfort showed up, he was very nice, thanked us for everything we did, helping the people, it was really nice, made me feel really good."

Making Kimberly feel good isn't that easy right now, since her husband George has now been diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer.

He was diagnosed just two weeks ago, and wasn't feeling well Sunday to see the smiles on the kids faces.
Kimberly says he stood upstairs as people came by, "Everything goes day by day and one step at a time, it will probably be George's last Christmas to give away, So I hope that people come for their kids."

George did come down on Monday and spoke with some of those who stopped by.

He told us, "I had a veteran walk up here today and took his necklace off his neck and gave it to that meant a lot."

George says it's a necklace he will have in his hand when he dies, "I don't normally break down, but when a man who doesn't have any money walked up the street, put his necklace over me and thanked me, that was better than anything I could ever get in this world.

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