When a 13-year-old girl from Chapman decided to raise funds for the breast cancer bills of a woman she had never met, the girl hoped to remain anonymous. Instead, the woman discovered her identity.
On Monday night, they met for the first time.
“I was really excited to meet her because I didn’t know I was really going to meet her,” 8th-grader Emily McGarvey said. “I thought I was going to be mysterious, but that’s fine.”
McGarvey said she and her mother have donated to breast cancer each year through a drive her mother hosts via her tutu business. This year was the first time McGarvey struck out on her own to raise funds.
“I just wanted to do something special, like my mom always did,” McGarvey said. “I’ve always wanted to show people that I actually care because other people, honestly, they’re like, ‘I can just give money. I don’t have to do anything for breast cancer. I don’t have to do anything for a cause.’ And I’m like, ‘well, I want to.’ I want to change somebody’s life.”
Booth for somebody
When McGarvey started raising money for Deana Payne, an Abilene woman who had breast cancer, McGarvey did not know Payne even existed.
All she knew was she wanted to raise funds for someone or a group of someones who were battling breast cancer and could use extra money to fuel the fight.
McGarvey set up a booth in her front yard along the parade route of Chapman’s annual Labor Day Parade and sold water and juice for donations. McGarvey said her parents purchased the water and juice for her endeavor.
“The most difficult part: in the beginning, some people just gave quarters,” McGarvey said. “I had just said, ‘It’s donations,’ so they’re like, ‘Oh, look, pennies,’ and I’m like, ‘Thaaaanks.’ Then they started giving dollars and then $5 bills and then I started getting happier.”
Payne’s name came up through McGarvey’s dad, Michael McGarvey, and his coworker, Beau Boston.
“I just happened to know a guy who worked with the little girl’s dad,” Payne said. “He was telling my story to the dad and they decided to donate to me.”
Michael told Emily about Payne, and she chose Payne as her recipient. She wrote a letter to Payne and signed it, “Emily” – no last name.
Michael gave the envelope to Boston, who then gave it to Payne’s babysitter. When Payne arrived at the babysitter’s house with her son, the woman gave her the envelope.
“When I opened it up and I read the letter that she had in the envelope, I found out she was a 13-year-old girl and I Just started crying,” Payne said. “It takes a lot for anyone to donate but it takes a lot for a young girl to do it.”
Payne said she is not yet officially a cancer survivor because she still has to undergo more radiation, but, for the most part, she is cancer-free. While she now has $100 more to ease the financial strain caused by cancer, Payne said her favorite part of the entire story is McGarvey’s heart.
“It just amazes me that a young girl went out of her way to help somebody that she doesn’t even know,” Payne said.
Michael said this type of action is typical for Emily.
“She’ll always do anyting for anybody,” he said. “It’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Michael said he is aware $100 is a minor part of the ongoing payments needed to cover chemotherapy and more. However, he said that $100 is still valuable.
“I told Emily, even if it’s just fuel in her gas tank to get her back and forth to where she has to go, it’s still something,” Michael said. “It’s something she doesn’t have to worry about coming up with the money for.”
Boston said he appreciates the honor of serving as McGarvey and Payne’s connecting piece.
“It’s awesome how it worked out,” Boston said.