This week we're paying it forward at VCU Medical Center, where a brave toddler has spent the past month in intensive care, battling a rare illness that's left her paralyzed from the neck down.
Her parents have taken leave from their jobs to take up vigil by their daughter's bedside.
Friends say this family, whose lives have been turned upside down, can really use some Acts of Kindness.
At her birthday celebration in May, Carter Castlebury was a happy, high spirited two year old. Days later, she was a much different little girl.
"She just... she just couldn't move her arms. She said, 'mommy, mommy,' when we lifted her arms up, she couldn't do it by herself, that's when they decided it's time to go to the ER," said family friend Brandi.
"The next morning, she couldn't move anything from her neck down," said family friend Kathy.
Doctors diagnosed Carter with transverse myelitis. The paralysis is caused by fluid in her spinal cord. Unable to eat or breathe on her own, she was hooked up to a feeding tube and ventilator.
"It's just basically been a roller coaster ride, just up and down, you don't know what to expect next," said Brittany Castlebury, Carter's mother.
Carter's parents have spent the past month practically living in the pediatric intensive care unit.
"We're sleeping in the room with her," said Brittany.
"You realize how precious life is," said Josh Castlebury, Carter's father.
Their friends have rallied. At the Kids R Kids Academy where Carter's enrolled and mom Brittany teaches, staff have organized several fundraisers.
"There's somebody making t-shirts, we have pins with her initials on it," said Kathy.
"The families from Kids R Kids are bringing up dinners on Tuesdays and Thursdays," Brandi.
Friends have set up a website to raise money for the family and arranged to pay it forward with an Act of Kindness.
Sabrina: "One-hundred, two-hundred, three-hundred dollars."
Kathy: "They have a lot of bills wracking up...I think the money will mean a lot , but I think also the support that we're showing them means a lot to them."
We just had to pry the couple from their pediatric guard post.
Brandi: "Hey Brittany, me and Kathy are here can you come outside?"
The girls told the couple they had supplies that needed to be carried up to the room.
It was the only way to get them out of the hospital.
Kathy: "You guys are pretty much our family, we love you guys and Carter to death and you're going through a lot and we just wanted to do something nice for you guys, so they gave us $300 to give to you."
Brittany: "Thank you."
The young couple said as stressful as the health crisis has been, it's also brought them closer.
Josh: "When you sleep in a twin-sized bed for a month, you definitely get pretty close cause you can't even roll over."
Doctor's said for now, Carter's recovery is a matter of time.
Brittany: "Some cases people have recovered in a couple of months, some cases it's been a couple of years, some haven't recovered at all."
The parents said friends, family and faith keep them strong.
Josh: "I just can't wait until Carter is out and she realizes how much love and support everybody is showing her. That just touches me and my family so much."
If there's an organization or individual you believe deserves an Act of Kindness, e-mail me. Remember, it cannot be a relative.
Send your nomination to email@example.com.
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