BOISE - A Boise mom who learned first-hand about the generosity of our community is now paying that kindness forward by helping another mom who is facing the same struggles she knows all too well.
Last year, we brought you the story of Matty Grant. The little boy with special needs had outgrown his car seat, and his family was in desperate need of a wheelchair-accessible van, so that they could roll him in and out in his chair. Thanks to thousands of dollars in community donations, and Peterson Toyota, the family raised enough money to get Matty a new ride.
"It's just been a huge blessing for us to have the van," said Matty's mom, Amber Grant. "It's just a reminder of the love for Matty and our family and the community and just what a great community that we live in."
Back then, Amber told us she was determined to pay it forward. Recently, she found her chance when she met Gisela Jimenez and her daughter, Aaliyah.
"She came up to me and introduced herself and let me know that she had a son with disabilities," said Gisela.
Amber says she could relate to Gisela's struggle.
"I watched her lift Aaliyah... and heave her into the car seat and then disassemble the wheelchair and lift that," remembered Amber. "Those are not light. I just said 'no, no, no more.'"
"All I could picture is I need to throw a life preserver," Amber added. "Because people have done that for me."
Amber started a GoFundMe account called "Lift" Up Aaliyah. The goal was to raise enough money to buy her an adapted van.
Gisela was overwhelmed with emotion.
"I'm a single mom, working two jobs," she said. "This is just more than a blessing, it's a helping hand that I'm truly grateful to have people who care about people like me."
Gisela has dreamed of a better way for her daughter.
"She can actually roll herself in and roll herself out and be independent; that has been my ultimate goal in life with her - for her to be as independent as possible." she said. "I don't like to look at her as a disabled child. Her disability is what she has, it's not who she is."
Amber knows just how she feels.
"These families are in such a state of isolation and desperation and they just need to be loved and know that they are not forgotten," she said.
Amber and Gisela say they now have a bond that can't be broken, brought together by their special children.
"I think sometimes we just need to be available and amazing things happen," Amber said.
Copyright 2016 KTVB