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Pay It Forward: Senior Project helping cancer patients

cancer care baskets
Paige Murray
Cancer care baskets with items collected and put together by Paige Murray for her senior project.
IV drip
Todd Kunz
Chemotherapy drugs drip through an IV at the Teton Cancer Institute in Idaho Falls

BONNEVILLE COUNTY (KXPI) - Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz found a situation where a whole lot of good is coming out of a rough medical diagnosis. Mountain America Credit Union wanted to help the young woman accomplish her goal of helping others going through the same situation as her father and Pay It Forward.

Her name is Paige Murray. She is a senior at Thunder Ridge High School in Bonneville County. But this is not where this story begins. It is one of those where good comes from bad.

Let's begin with the bad.

Her father, Blake Murray, is a young, healthy dad. However, in May 2021, he started feeling very tired all the time, no energy, even short walks would take his breath. At first, doctors thought it might be his heart. But a trip to the emergency room and several tests later revealed the answer. Blake was diagnosed with colon cancer in October 2021.

Nowadays he spends some of his time at the Teton Cancer Institute in Idaho Falls. Every two weeks he gets treatment. For six months he has been hooked to an IV machine most of treatment day, letting the seconds pass, drip by drip.

Doctors were able to get all his cancer out, but the chemotherapy treatments are meant to make sure it doesn't rear its ugly head somewhere else in his body.

Blake has a good prognosis and is almost finished with his treatments. That sums up the bad.

Now for the good.

One day, Paige came along with her dad to the cancer center to support him. She saw something.

"I really wanted to help when I got the chance to do my senior project. I just knew I wanted to help some way the people who are also going through the same thing and just do what I could to make their day a little better," said Paige.

And then the idea came.

"So I'm going to be making care baskets for chemo patients. I'm going to go in and hand them out while they're getting their treatment done. And so, I've been collecting donations to help pay for these baskets, and so I'm just going to go collect a bunch of different items that will help make their experience a little better," said Paige.

And there's the good.

Her baskets contain blankets, warm socks, and hats, with positivity bracelets, and mints for nausea. But one item really stood out to Kunz.

"I'm going to get a journal for them to write in and I'm going to call it their Journey Journal so that they can just write done any experiences they have throughout their journey," said Paige.

Mom and Dad are quite proud of their daughter's thoughtfulness, yet not surprised.

"This isn't the first time that she's looked for ways to help others and to alleviate their suffering and she always tries to look for that. And so it just touches our heart that we've hopefully raised a kind person in this world," said mother, Breanna.

"She's an amazing young woman and has just always tried to do good things and be kind and so I just felt like I needed to support her in it, no matter what else," said Blake.

Paige said the response from friends and neighbors has been overwhelming.

Time to add to it, and Pay It Forward.

"It's been really awesome and really crazy. I just made an Instragram post and told them, 'Hey guys, this is my Dad. This is what he's going through, and I want to help people who are also going through it, and uhm... he...,'" said Paige with her voice trailing off, because a man walked into their house and interrupted.

"Paige, how are you?" asked the man.

"Good. How are you?" replied Paige.

"Good. I'm Kory (Carling) with Mountain America Credit Union. And we're here today to Pay It Forward," he said.

"Oh?" said Paige.

"And we've heard what you're doing because of your dad and also because of your kind heart, and also what you're doing for the community. So I'm here today to give you $500 in cash," said Carling, pulling money out of an envelope.

"Oh my goodness," said Paige, with a surprised look on her face.

"That I know that you can use to continue providing care packages for those in need and further put this towards the community and touching the hearts of those around us. So on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union, we want to Pay It Forward to you," continued Carling.

"Thank you so much," said Paige, reaching out and taking the money.

"And for all that you're doing," said Carling.

"You're amazing," said Paige.

"So thank you," said Carling.

"Thank you," said Paige.

"For what you're doing," said Carling.

"I appreciate that," replied Paige.

"You're welcome," said Carling.

"You're awesome," said Paige.

"Good job," said Carling.

"Thank you," said Paige.

Breanna said, "Through challenges in life, great things can come to pass and we've seen that through other challenges that we've had."

If you would like to help Paige with her baskets, you can make a donation directly to her through her Venmo account at Paige-Murray-05.

"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 "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at todd.kunz@news3now.com.

Article Topic Follows: Pay It Forward
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Todd Kunz

Todd is an anchor for KIDK Eyewitness News 3, Local News 8 and Fox 5.

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