OAKLEY -- A stream of lowriders converged on a neighborhood here Saturday morning, but instead of fearing the low, throaty roar of these classic vehicles driven by heavily-tattooed Hispanic men, 3-year-old Quentin Rios begged his parents to take him outside to check it out.
"He's like, 'I hear something really loud outside,' " said his mom, Mary Rios. "Any loud car he thinks is really cool."
Knowing that this parade of cars was there for their son, Mary and her husband, Jason, took him outside to meet the crew from the So-Low Riderz car club.
Three weeks earlier, the club had learned of Quentin and his inoperable brain tumor and knew that it had to do something for the family, SLR President John Munoz said.
"We just thought it would be nice to give to the family, just to let them know that there is support in the community," Munoz said. "We just had to do what we could."
Munoz said the club generally holds fundraisers such as carwashes or car shows to generate funds to donate to worthy causes. But with Easter on the horizon, the group, along with family and friends, donated from within and raised about $700 to purchase Easter baskets and gift cards for the family.
Munoz, a stout man with tattoos covering his body, grabbed hold of the huge basket meant for Quentin and made his way over to the family. Behind him, club members carried two smaller baskets and gift cards for the other three children in the family.
Mary, beaming with an ear-to-ear smile, looked at her young son and asked, "Are you going to be able to hold it, it's as big as you?"
Just six months earlier, and only because their son exhibited problems seeing, they learned that Quentin had a juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma brain tumor.
Mary explained that because part of the tumor is in both optic nerve tracks, he is considered blind; he has no vision whatsoever in the left eye and only 20/400 in his right.
"It's in his hypothalamus, his pituitary glands, his optic nerves. It's in like every vital portion of the brain needed," she added.
"The tumor itself isn't graded very malignant, it's only a stage 1, but due to its location, it's considered life-threatening -- if they remove any portion of it, it will render him lifeless," she said, holding back the tears.
So what that means for Quentin is that he will have a life of chemotherapy to keep the tumor at bay, with his first regiment being 60 weeks long, for which he already has 20 weeks under his belt.
Mary said her son has been a champ through all of it.
"His chemotherapy appointments are six hours long, and he has to sit there and he never complains," she said. "He never fights me for medicine, or doctor's appointments or treatments."
Mary said even the chemotherapy only keeps her son down a day or two.
"He is an on-the-go-constantly, 100-miles-an-hour little boy," she said. "He still wants to play, so he finds a way. Whether he can see it or not, he's getting there."
Munoz's right-hand man, Robert Martinez, stood in amazement as he watched Quentin take the foam Spiderman baseball bat out of the basket and began swinging away at the ball his mom pitched to him.
"I don't think there is much to say when you see that smile on his face," Martinez said. "It doesn't seem like he has a worry in the world."
Munoz looked over at the rest of the club members who were also grinning and shaking their head in approval.
"I know my guys are very stoked; right now, it just makes us feel good," Munoz said. "And the family really appreciates it."
Saturday did not mark an end to the club's contribution to the family; Munoz said the club will continue to fundraise for Quentin and his family.
"We just want to be a big brother to him -- to be there for him," Munoz said.
The So-Low Riderz car club is in the process of applying for its 501(c) 3 status. To donate to its efforts for the Rios family, the club can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about So-Low Riderz, check out its Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/So-Low-Riderz-Califas/474041286040576.