Lisa Mattheiss - A Lifeline to Local Families

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Good friends can sometime be hard to find.

For two women all it took was an online post to spark a forever friendship.

This week's heartwarming 'Pay it Forward' story begins in Chickamauga, Georgia, just outside Oakwood Christian Academy.

Rachel Payne has a big surprise for her friend, Lisa Mattheiss, who has spent more than a decade selflessly serving families who have children with special needs.

Rachel says, "She (Lisa) works with kids and parents in the school system, getting all of the accommodations and modifications that a child needs, and she also helps set up special needs ministries."

Rachel goes on to say, "We met through Craigslist. I was trying to get rid of a wheelchair that I couldn't use anymore. Lisa takes donations to help other people who maybe can't afford it, or even just parts off the wheelchair for other people."

"She gets them the resources they need. She does everything from taking donations for clothing and helps people who've been in fires, and all kinds of disabilities," Rachel tells me.

We count out our 'Pay it Forward' cash and Rachel's husband, Randy, joins in on the big surprise.

School officials show us into the building where we wait on our recipient in a front room. Lisa has no idea what's about to happen and doesn't even spot our camera when she walks through the door!

Rachel chokes back tears as she explains why she's there.

"I wanted to take a moment and thank you for being one of my best friends, for all that you do for everybody around the area, and I wanted to 'Pay it Forward' on behalf of McMahan Law Firm and NewsChannel 9."

Rachel hands her friend five crisp $100 bills.

Lisa is brought to tears as she realizes that Randy and our 'Pay it Forward' crew is also there for the emotional moment.

The pair's deep-rooted friendship is connected to Lisa's daughter, Emily. Emily, like Rachel, has Spina Bifida, a birth defect in which the bones of the spine do not form properly.

Lisa says, "Emily is almost 15. She has Spina Bifida and about a dozen other diagnoses. It's been a journey and we've had other people come along beside us through the years."

Rachel is more than just a dear friend to Lisa. She is a role model.

"I know that Emily is going to face some of those same things and has already faced some of those things. And, yet, she sees someone who trusts God everyday to get up and do what she needs to do, have a marriage, have a family, have kids, and take care of them."

Together these two friends, who met by chance, embrace the future and all of its possibilities.

If you'd like to learn more about Lisa's non-profit support program, Lifeline, just click the link.Go here to nominate someone for a Pay It Forward segment.
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