Lia Surprise Squad helps family who lost wife and mother to cancer

(Western Mass News photo)

One year ago, Jen Avery - a loving wife, mom of two, and well respected supervisor - lost her life to cancer, but her love and strength live on in her family and in the community.

On Friday, April 6, the Gandara Center in Holyoke celebrated the life and accomplishments of Jennifer Avery by dedicating a conference room and award in her honor.

The former quality assurance supervisor spent 19 years with the agency and was admired by her peers, including Lisa Brecher.

"She brought passion to everything she did and I think that's something that really translated in everything she did," Brecher said.

Avery was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer in November 2016. By spring, it spread to her spine and took her life on April 13, 2017

In the crowd at the event was Avery's husband, Steve Nagle, and their two daughters: Felina, 7, and Allie, 6.

"It's very emotional for me and very emotional for my kids, but we're so honored that her memory will live on here at the Gandara Center," Nagle explained.

Now, life has forced the Rock102 radio host to pick up new skills.

"It was using the shampoo and the conditioner. I don't need a lot of that stuff, so I didn't really have a lot of experience with that," Nagle said.

To help make Nagle's job a little easier, Brecher asked our Lia Auto Group Surprise Squad to step in.

With help from fashion expert Debbie Wright, we took the family on a shopping spree at Macy's.

The day started with the red carpet experience at Macy's, including goodie bags for girls and gift cards for a shopping spree!

In addition, the Holyoke Mall adding more goodie bags, gift cards, and free lunch at Uno's.

"The foundations of their personality is all Jennifer and it's one of the most proudest things I see in them," Nagle added.

Stacked with options for any occasion, we were off to the VIP dressing room and Dad's approval...

"You guys look so cute! [What are you thinking, Dad?] I think it looks great. I think we're ready for vacation, what do you think?" Nagle said.

The Surprise Squad wasn't done yet. We heard and saw that they like to do outdoor activities together, so in May, they will have a weekend at Zoar Outdoor, along with white water rafting.

The acts of kindness kept pouring in. Pixelshop Studios in Springfield also offered a free photo-shoot with their own touch.

What they asked is if Steve could send along a picture of his wife.

"She's with us all the time and she's always with us. Wherever we go, we see signs of her everywhere and she helps us get through even the tough times,"

If you know someone deserving of a visit from the Lia Auto Group Surprise Squad, email

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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