Cancer-Battling SUV

WSVN — The diagnosis devastated his wife. She had breast cancer. To inspire her, he put a wrap around her SUV to let her know she could beat cancer. It worked, till her association told her to move it or it would be towed. Why would they do that to her? It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Frank Cornelius is the guy who wrote the Miami Heat championship song. A guy know for his dark glasses.

Frank Cornelius Jr.: "When people see me without my glasses, ‘Hey, where are your glasses? I didn’t notice you without your glasses.’"

Those were the fun days for Frank. And then his wife Jennifer got the news: She has breast cancer.

Jennifer Spencer Cornelius: "You feel scared, like you feel like you don’t know what is going to happen."

That was right after Jennifer’s father passed away and her mother got sick. The words "breast cancer" overwhelmed her.

Frank Cornelius Jr.: "It hit her pretty hard. She didn’t get out of bed for like two days, and we had to do something."

Frank is a singer, songwriter and motivator, and he decided to find a way to inspire Jennifer, to remind her she can beat cancer. And so he pulled up in her SUV.

Frank Cornelius Jr.: "And I named it ‘Cancer True Love and R&B,’ and the basis behind it is that there is life after a diagnosis."

Frank put a wrap around Jennifer’s SUV, showing them wearing gloves to fight cancer, with the slogan, ‘Cancer is not always the end of life.’ It shows their Facebook page where Frank has videos of Jennifer getting ready for her treatment. Frank likes to distract Jennifer before her chemo.

Jennifer loved the SUV and the videos. It reminded her every day she was going to beat cancer, and it helped inspire people she saw while driving.

Jennifer Spencer Cornelius: "[They would] roll the window down at the stop light and give me words of encouragement or, ‘I have someone that’s battling it. Can you give me some information?’"

And then…

Frank Cornelius Jr.: "She walked outside, and she saw the green violation stuck on the truck."

The property manager for the Santa Monica Homeowners Association in Tamarac sent this letter, calling the cancer SUV a commercial vehicle. That if Jennifer didn’t remove it from the property, it would be towed, and they would be hit with fines up to $100 per day and $1,000 per incident.

Jennifer Spencer Cornelius: "It’s very painful, like another disease just developed in me."

Frank argues it’s not a commercial vehicle. It doesn’t make them a dime. It’s just to inspire Jennifer and anyone else battling cancer.

Frank Cornelius Jr.: "That truck actually opens up conversation to all types of cancers and ideas and ‘Why should I get checked?’"

The Corneliuses are renting the townhouse and can’t park the truck in their garage because it’s filled with stuff from their house they just sold, but Jennifer doesn’t want to stop driving her SUV and moved in with her mother while Frank fights the association.

Frank Cornelius Jr.: "We understand that there are rules, but we want them to look deeper inside, because nobody is exempt from any type of cancer."

Howard, it’s an SUV that is inspiring Jennifer to beat cancer. Can an association call it a commercial vehicle and force them to move it?

Howard Finkelstein: "In my opinion, they cannot. After reviewing the association’s documents, I don’t believe that this SUV, with non-commercial advertising, qualifies as a commercial vehicle, and I think most people and a judge would not want to force Jennifer to give up an SUV that inspires her."

In e-mails and phone calls, I spoke to the property manager, who said his child had fought cancer. And I spoke to the association president, who told me he was a cancer survivor. Both men said they sympathized with Mrs. Cornelius, but the president added, "The Homeowners Association has rules and regulations that I have an obligation to uphold."

They then sent a letter to the Corneliuses’ landlord that read: "As a courtesy to the ‘Help Me Howard’ representative, we would like to invite you and your tenant to present your tenant’s case as to why they should be allowed to park their vehicle with the advertising violation in their driveway."

Frank will be there to fight to keep their cancer-battling SUV that Jennifer believes has made a difference in her life.

Jennifer Spencer Cornelius: "You have something to walk out, to motivate you, to keep you fighting."

Keep fighting, Jennifer and Frank, and we will be following you. We’ll be at that October meeting to see if the board agrees with Howard, that the SUV to inspire Jennifer to beat cancer is perfectly legal and she can park it in their driveway.

Losing the inspiration to beat a problem you have? Want someone to wrap their arms around a solution? Contact us. We have the cure; it’s called the law, mixed in with hard word and compassion.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7


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