A local woman recently nominated her friend, who, she said, "makes a difference in this community and has touched many people's lives." KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz wanted to find out why she feels that way. Once he started digging into to her volunteer work, he found out why KIDK and Mountain America Credit Union should Pay It Forward.
"We've been through cancer. We know what it's like. We both are survivors. We know what it's like. We can't look away," said Amy Schmutz, standing next to her friend, Becky Capp.
Schmutz is the head of the Snake River Alliance Cancer Support Group. She took it over 10 years ago, when her life changed.
"Mine was ovarian cancer," said Schmutz.
She is a two time survivor and has been cancer-free for 10 years.
Capp is a nine-year breast cancer survivor. She got in touch with Kunz about the work Schmutz does. One day a week, Schmutz walks room to room in the Teton Cancer Institute to talk with the patients. She gives them a goodie bag put together by the support group.
"We came up with the idea of making bags that are full of things that we would have liked to have had when we were going through chemotherapy," said Schmutz.
And not only that, the group has made and tied quilts that have been donated to Relay for Life.
"You're both very busy," said Kunz.
"Yeah, it's a good kind of busy," said Schmutz.
"Is it?" asked Kunz.
"It's a lot of heart. It's good. It's a healing thing," said Schmutz.
"Yeah," said Kunz.
"Thinking of others," added Capp.
"Yeah," said Schmutz.
"Instead of your problems," said Capp.
"And what happens in these meetings is amazing," said Schmutz.
A quick look inside the goodie bags reveals a lot of items.
"We have blankets for everyone. It's nice to have your own stuff when you're going through therapy. This one was donated by a company. We have a hat. These are quit nice. We get a lot from this group, Knots of Love. It's a great thing; especially in the winter, you are going to want to cover. It happens. We have puzzle books to keep you entertained during chemotherapy," said Schmutz, pulling each item out of the bag.
"Because you are just sitting there," said Kunz.
"Yes, and it's often for hours, hours. We have a water bottle. You have to drink quite a bit of water. Socks, many of us get sore feet when we are going through therapy," said Schmutz.
"Or cold feet," said Capp.
"Or cold," said Schmutz.
"I was always cold," said Capp.
There are many more useful items, too many to name.
Both Schmutz and Capp said battling cancer can be a very frightening time and a very isolated time, but knowing there is a group of people out there that made a bag for them, with them in mind, makes it a little easier.
"The most important, powerful thing you can say to cancer patient is, 'I really understand,'" said Schmutz.
"Not to be afraid. To ask for help and that no one fights alone," added Capp.
Time to Pay It Forward.
"Talking with people, I get quite a range," said Schmutz.
"Amy, How are you?" asked a man walking into the room.
"Oh hi," said Schmutz.
"I'm Kory (Carling) with Mountain American Credit Union," said the man.
"Oh hi," said Schmutz.
"We became aware of what you are doing for the cancer patients around this area and all the good you're doing, giving back to our community and for that reason, I am here to Pay it Forward," said Carling.
"Oh wonderful," said Schmutz.
"So I've brought with me today, $500," said Carling.
"Oh my goodness!" said Schmutz.
"That I know you can continue to use to continue your cause and give back with the goodies, the bags, and continue your good work towards our community. So on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union, we'd like to Pay it Forward," said Carling.
"Oh, thank you so much!" said Schmutz.
"You are welcome," said Carling.
"We really appreciate that," said Schmutz.
"Awesome," said Carling.
"We'll put it to good use," said Schmutz.
"You betcha," said Carling.
"Thank you so much," said Capp.
"You betcha. You're welcome," said Carling.
The next meeting for the Snake River Alliance Cancer Support Group is Tues., Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. The group meets at the Teton Medical Specialty Center on Woodruff Avenue in Idaho Falls. For more information, call Amy Schmutz at 208-403-2256.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "Pay It Forward" on the right side of our website and fill out the form, or send an email to KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.