OKLAHOMA CITY - It is a place many people come to spend their last years. Smile lines and wrinkles are testaments of a life well-lived.
But it is a place one young woman comes to feel alive. A youthful glow and glasses mask much more than a woman her age should be facing.
"She's a younger person, and unfortunately she was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, went through treatments, thought things were looking better,” Mary Peacock said.
Looks can be deceiving. Last year, Stephanie Lowrence found out her cancer was in stage four.
"She's a nurse. She's also a single mother of four young children. I think her youngest is three years old,” Peacock said. "Amongst all of the struggles she has, she comes to work every day. I would have never known that she even had cancer."
Some days Stephanie is so sick she can barely stand it. Despite everything, she shows up for work. She needs the money, but, more importantly, she needs her patients, and they need her.
"The patients love her. She never complains,” Peacock said. “She is always out on the floor showing extra love. When I talked to her the other day about anything I could do to help her situation, her words to me were, 'This job keeps me alive. These patients keep me feeling alive. I want to be here as long as I can.'"
And just like everyone here, she does not know how long that is going to be.
"To me, I thought what could I do to make her life better? What can I do for her and her four young kids to make anything possible? So we thought, let’s give the story to channel four,” Peacock said.
Peacock nominated her for Pay It 4ward.
"Mary, we were so touched by Stephanie's story. In fact, it embodies everything about Pay It 4ward - love, courage and grace for others. So on behalf of everyone at First Fidelity Bank, I am so pleased and honored to present you with $400 to help you pay it forward,” James Boggs, of First Fidelity Bank, said.
They called Stephanie to the front desk.
"We couldn't think of another way to say thank you for all you dedication, and everything that you've gone through,” Peacock said “We are thankful to have you. So on behalf of News 4 and First Fidelity Bank, we would like to pay it forward."
"I don't deserve this. I'm no better than anyone else. These people love these people, too," Lowrence said.
A love for others, a courage to fight and a grace that only a person just thankful to be alive can have.
This is a double Pay It 4ward. Stephanie’s employer was so touched by her circumstances, they matched the $400 and tucked it inside a handwritten card.
"Thank you for all the kindness you bring to the world,” the card read. “Stephanie, we are so grateful for all you do. We would like to match the Pay It Forward with four hundred dollars with this gift of four hundred dollars from Bradford Village. Thank you so much."
Pay It Forward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.