Pay it 4Ward - Woman battling cancer rewarded for selflessness
Fri, 27 Jan 2012 05:16:52 GMT —
As a divorced mother who struggled to make ends meet, Criselda Hernandez credits a neighbor as her personal hero.
"There's been a lot of times that I've gone through... these hardships and obstacles... And she's been there for me," she said.
Delia Valdez, 65-years-old, is the one who welcomed Criselda to the neighborhood just east of downtown Harlingen 12 years ago.
"A guardian angel," Criselda called her friend.
An angel who helped raise her children so she could work and provide for them.
An angel who would also help to cook and clean.
Delia asked for nothing in return.
But Criselda wasn't the only person she helped.
"There was a gentleman that I personally met ... He didn't have anywhere to stay and she took them in as well," Criselda said.
She also assisted the neighborhood with babysitting services.
"She didn't charge," she said. "Even stray animals.. She would take care of stray animals."
Criselda calls them selfless acts of kindness that she would like Pay it 4Ward to help reward.
"Because of Pay it 4Ward I'm able to say thank you so much Delia."
Domingo Reyna, district manager with Pronto Insurance, provides Criselda with the $400 Pay it 4Ward prize.
"I heard the story of where Delia has been very important in your life," Domingo said. "And that's what Pronto and Action 4 News is all about... And that's why we're presenting you with $400 to Pay it 4Ward."
"I'm trembling," Criselda said.
"Are you ready to surprise her," asked Action 4's Ryan Wolf?
"Yes," she answered.
Criselda knocked on her door.
Action 4's Ryan Wolf surprised her when she answered.
"Is this Delia," he asked?
"My name is Ryan Wolf with Action 4 News... How are you?"
Delia is shocked to see a camera at her door.
She's even more surprised to learn the reason behind the surprise visit. "On behalf of Action 4 News and Pronto Insurance... Here's $400 to Pay it 4Ward," Criselda said to Delia.
"One hundred, two hundred, three hundred, four hundred," Criselda counted out with money in hand.Delia immediately broke down into tears.
It's not until Delia talked about being the Pay it 4Ward recipient that everyone around learns the true scoop of her feelings.
"She wants to be the same as before... She was diagnosed... Because she's been very exhausted and tired," Delia said through a translator.
It turns out Delia is battling tumors in her liver.
She's unable to help the community in the way she loves.
Her husband Vidal died 6 years ago from cancer.
Delia fears she could be next.
"She doesn't want to feel 'useless' like she feels right now because of her cancer," the translator said.
Ryan: "On behalf of people who live in this community... you are the very foundation here in this neighborhood... And I couldn't be more proud to tell you that we thank you for everything you've done for this community."
"I always like to help people, but I want to be like I was before," Delia said in Spanish.
Ryan: "I don't want you to ever think that you're useless. Do you hear me?"
Delia acknowledged she wouldn't say it moving forward.
She then gave Criselda a big hug.
Nothing else needed to be said.