20-year-old Peyton Sheppard from Chandler suffers from a rare blood vessel disease.
It causes a blood circulation disorder with symptoms like severe abdominal pain, tremors and feinting.
She remembers the first time that happened.
“Next thing I know I’m on the ground, and I’m looking at my mom like ‘What’s going on?’ And, she said ‘Peyton, you fainted,'” Peyton said.
Peyton was a track star who won a closet full of medals, but now her life is all about battling her disease, and it’s taking an emotional toll.
“Let’s just basically say I feel like I’m underwater every single day, and I can’t come up,” Peyton said. “I feel like I’m drowning, and I can’t catch a breath.”
It’s also taking a financial toll on her mom and dad.
“It’s like everybody says ‘Don’t you have insurance?” said Peyton’s dad, Darren. “Yes, we do, but they don’t pay for everything. And, some of the things they don’t pay for at all with her problems.”
Enter Steve and Sandy Messer, also of Chandler.
They heard about Peyton’s situation and decided to do something about it.
“Sandy did 90 percent of the leg work,” Steve said about his wife.
The Messers along with their friends from the Chandler’s Masonic Hall raised thousands of dollars for Peyton and her family.
That’s why Peyton nominated them for Pay it 4Ward.
“The kindness and generosity of the Messer family is truly inspirational. So, on behalf of First Fidelity Bank and all of our team members, I’d like to present $400,” said Beverly Barrett with First Fidelity Bank.
When Peyton surprised Steve and Sandy with the Pay it 4Ward award, they both got misty-eyed with Steve telling us “This family’s need – something had to happen. I just believe you give back every chance you can. You don’t take.”
The Messers hard work and generosity is paying for medical bills and a risky surgery around Peyton’s aortic artery.
The surgeon in Chicago gave Peyton a chilling warning.
“He said ‘Peyton, I could kill you,’” she recalls.
But, she said it’s worth the risk.
“You just want to do anything to get better,” Peyton said.
Her mother, Quita, said they are leaning on their faith.