Volunteer recovering from kidney transplant is surprised on her birthday
A Tunnel Hill woman who has spent countless hours volunteering for a community outreach program is recovering from a kidney transplant.
One of the women she helped is now getting the chance to say thank you on her birthday.
NewsChannel 9's Jessica Harthorn shows us the surprise in this week's Pay It Forward.
Right now Racheal Chambers is at home recovering.
She's doing fantastic and is so grateful for the community's support.
She tells us after her 5 year old daughter died unexpectedly, God put it on her heart how important it is to be a blessing to others during their time of need.
Inside the thrift store at Soul Station Ministries in Tunnel Hill, you'll find racks full of clothes and shelves full of toys.
It's one of Amber Brown's favorite places to shop with her three little girls.
"I just love going there," said Amber.
In the back of the shop is a community food pantry stocked with items for anyone in need.
Amber says she never imagined she would fall on hard times and need help with groceries.
It was that day, Amber met volunteer Racheal Chambers.
"I don't like asking anybody for anything. She was smiling and waiting for someone to come in," remembers Amber.
Months later, Racheal surprised Amber's girls with a mound of gifts under the Christmas tree.
They were ecstatic.
"Big smiles, happy, ripping everything open like always," said Amber.
While Racheal was giving back to others at Soul Station and helping families like Amber's, she was also going through her own battle.
Diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, she was waiting desperately for a donor.
Amber remembers wishing she could help her.
"When you don't got much to give back to someone that you really want to give to, so she knows you're thankful," said Amber.
Then on February 24th, Racheal got the call. Doctors found her a match five years earlier than expected.
The kidney transplant was scheduled the next day and she was back on her feet.
Today, Amber is checking in on her at home and bringing a big birthday surprise.
"On behalf of NewsChannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, I would like to give you $500 in cash and Pay It Forward," said Amber.
"What?" said Racheal as she turned off the TV.
"Yes, because you are amazing and helped me so many times, and you're the only person I know that deserves it. Thank you for taking care of my kids," surprised Amber.
"Oh my gosh. It's a blessing to be a blessing," said Racheal as she hugged Amber.
Racheal then showed us the pictures of her 5 year old daughter Emily, who tragically died in a car crash in 2009.
God says he's now laid it on her heart to help others find comfort, food and support.
"I know how it feels to be in that situation, where you don't know where anything is coming from and to be able to turn it around and be able to provide that, it's amazing," said Racheal.
Now Amber and Racheal have formed a bond that will last a lifetime.
Do you know someone who deserves $500 for helping others?