Lucas Hembree's rare genetic disorder means he requires electronic medical equipment to stay healthy and comfortable.
"Lucas has a rare disorder called Sanfilippo Syndrome. As this disease
goes along, they usually by age seven go into a vegetative state. He's about
ready to turn five," his mother Jennifer told 10News in February.
That's why their home's back-up generator is critical. In a power outage they need to be able to operate Lucas' feeding machine, oxygen monitor, inclining bed, and other essentials.
So when thieves hit the Alcoa family's home late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, they stole more than just scrap metal-- they stole peace of mind.
"It makes we sick to my stomach. It's the one thing I can't stand is a thief," said Hembree.
Her husband staked a notice in the front yard, shaming the thieves for stealing from a sick child.
"A normal person would use it for their air, their refrigerator, keeping stuff cool, froze or whatever. But we have to have it for Lucas to monitor his oxygen," said Hembree.
She says there's a chance that homeowner's insurance will help cover some of the cost.
But the family was half-way to saving up for a new wheelchair lift for their minivan.
She says if they have to pay $2,000 to replace the generator out of pocket- that will have to wait.
For more on on Lucas' story and how you can help click here.