Pay It Forward: Peoria girl gives pillow pets to kids - CBS 5 - KPHO

Pay It Forward: Peoria girl gives pillow pets to kids with sick parents

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In Gary Gillespie's family, there are two rules.

"One is life's not fair, and the other is happiness comes from the inside," said Gillespie.

Gillespie said the rules go back years and years, but they certainly have more meaning since his wife, Jenny, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor.

Doctors told the family there's nothing they can do.

"There's a certain amount of uncertainty, you don't really know day to day what the reactions are going to be, it's kind of hard too with raising two kids," said Gillespie.

His two daughters are, understandably, having a tough time with this.

But 12-year-old Sydney draws comfort from something she got at Disneyland before her mom got sick.

"I got the Eeyore one," said Sydney, as she hugged her pillow pet, a pillow and stuffed animal all in one.

Sydney said she squeezes her pillow pet when she's feeling sad, so she's starting a foundation with a goal of giving a pillow pet to any child who has a parent with a terminal illness.

"I would say I'm a pretty proud dad that my daughter would first of all even think to do something like this but then take action," said Gary Gillespie.

"Last week after I watched the Pay It Forward story, I woke up and something hit me," said Pam Szukula, a family friend of the Gillespie's.

Szukula thought Sydney's project could use a jumpstart, so she nominated Sydney for CBS 5's Pay It Forward segment.

We surprised Sydney at her Peoria home with the $500 reward.

She hopes to have the foundation up and running within a few weeks so her mom can see for herself.

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