CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Several months ago, Channel 9 made a commitment to helping people right here in the Charlotte area wipe away $1 million in medical debt.
So, Action 9 donated enough money to the non-profit, RIP Medical Debt.
RIP uses donations to buy people's medical debt, for pennies on the dollar. Then, it erases that debt. Action 9's donation helped nearly 500 people, including Gwenlyn Quezada.
She lives in Statesville, in a struggling neighborhood, on a street just a few doors down from two memorials for young men shot and killed last year.
She's spent her life caring for others by, ministering, nursing, and working with the mentally-challenged.
"I know the Bible says, 'Do unto others as you want them to do unto you.' But my motto is, 'Do unto others better than you want them to do unto you.' That's what I say. That's my saying."
A few months ago, her 10-year-old grandson found her in her bedroom, unresponsive. She had had a stroke.
Now, she's doing much better. But some of her excitement was overshadowed.
"Hearing the bill collectors calling you about hospital bills that you know you don't have the money," she said.
She owed more than $6,000 and said there was no way she pictured being able to pay that back.
"They even wanted to do a payment plan for me and I told them, I say, 'For what I live off of, there's no way I can even do a payment plan right now."
Then, Thanksgiving weekend came. Her son went to the mailbox and told her, "You got one of them letters from Channel 9." She said, "No, I didn't."
But it was legitimate. She opened the letter and read those words: "We are pleased to inform you that you no longer owe the balance on the debt."
"For y'all to do that. I'm sorry. I really am. For y'all to do that for me. That means a whole lot for me. I'm so full of joy. I'm not crying of sadness. I'm crying because the joy that y'all thought of me," Quezada told Action 9. "But I tell God, 'Thank you.'"
Action 9 didn't choose the recipients. It provided the money, but RIP Medical Debt identified the recipients on its own.
In fact, for privacy reasons, Action 9 doesn't know who the recipients are. So, if you get one of those yellow envelopes (it says RIP Medical Debt and Channel 9 on it), please let Action 9 know the good news.
Jason Stoogenke wants to share your story too.
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