Mat-Su father with cancer receives surprise car restoration

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 11:48 AM AKDT
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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - The REV Alaska car show celebrated its fifth year on June 5, welcoming visitors once again to the Menard Center in Wasilla. But this year’s event was extra special for one family.

When Kevin Zagyva woke up the morning of June 5, he expected to be a regular spectator at a car show. But his daughter, who had spent months trying to make her dad’s dream car a reality, had other plans.

Zagyva worked for years as a high school science teacher. In 2017, he was forced to retire because of a kidney cancer diagnosis. All he’s wanted in retirement is to restore his dream car, a 1986 Chevrolet Camaro.

He began to strip the car down and piece it back together. But with having to focus on tough cancer treatments, he says he simply ran out of time. So Zagyva’s daughter stepped in. She reached out to REV Alaska, and owner Leon Reynolds wasted no time putting together a whole team and several hundred man-hours, he says, went into restoring the Camaro.

“The reason that we chose this family to do this to is the fact that through it all they are incredibly bright, they are very very positive. They’re really the best of — that we should all aspire to be in these circumstances. We were inspired by that the moment we met them and there was just no way we were going to let this not happen,” Reynolds said.

Zagyva’s daughter describes her father as an “all-in” type of guy, and to show her love for him, she wanted to give him the “legend car” he always wanted.

“I’m just flabbergasted, I don’t know what to say,” Zagyva said.

The team did all the work at no cost to the Zagyva family, sometimes working until 4 a.m., all to help a stranger who shares the same passion for cars that they have.

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