Oklahoma teacher endures her toughest year yet, pays it forward to those who helped her get through it

Pay It 4ward

STILLWATER, Okla (KFOR) – 2020 was a year unlike any other, throwing out changes and challenges to everyone, including an Oklahoma teacher.

After some personal family issues, Stillwater art teacher Crista McCann was in the midst of relocating to Yukon. But it was during that difficult move that she learned she would face another battle – lymphoma.

“You know, nothing like having to deal with cancer during a pandemic, also,” Crista said.

During the school year, Crista refused to let cancer keep her down, using art as her outlet, including on top of her head! 

Crista McCann, Art Teacher

And when friends bought her wigs to wear in the classroom, Crista named each wig!

“I had one named Sandy, it looked a little bit like Sandy off of Grease. I had Violet, which was ironically a blue one. Veronica looked like off of Archie. My kids laughed because I had seven different wigs with different names, so they always wanted to know which wig was coming to class the next day,” Crista said.

Crista McCann’s wig collection

Then summer came and chemo kept Crista homebound, which meant she couldn’t participate in her annual summer event – berry-picking at N40 Berries in Stillwater, which also makes and sells her favorite blackberry jam.

“It wasn’t wise for me to travel; I just didn’t have the stamina to go out and pick blackberries, and that kind of led to me reaching out and saying, ‘Hey, do you guys ship any?'”

When Crista called N40 Berries, Heidi Castro answered the phone.

Heidi said the farm does not ship, but that she would bring them to Crista at no charge.

“In an hour, she showed up on my doorstep with a mask and a bag, and she had four jars of jam and a giant bag of fresh berries that she picked, and so it was awesome! It was an amazing act of kindness,” Crista said.

Berries and jam provided by Heidi Castro to Crista McCann

Crista is spending 2021 returning the kindness that was shown to her by others in 2020, and for Heidi’s kind gesture, Crista made a surprise call to Heidi via Zoom, and nominated Heidi for a $400 Pay It 4Ward award from First Fidelity Bank.

“I just wanted to say thank you for this summer when you brought me berries and jam, while I was going through chemo, all the way down to the city. I know you said it was nothing, but it wasn’t. I’m super appreciative of you,” Crista told Heidi.

“Oh my gosh! Well, I love you and I’m so proud of you,” Heidi said. “My husband went through cancer, so, that’s a hard place to be in, and I would do it again.”

As the saying goes: ‘Be kind always – everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.’  And for Crista, during her battle, Heidi’s gesture meant the world.

“It was just amazing to receive that kind of blessing,” Crista said.

N40 berries opens to the public for berry-picking the first or second week in June, whenever the berries are ready. You can find them on Facebook, if you’d like to participate.

Nominate someone for Pay it 4Ward!

Pay It 4Ward is a program through which KFOR-TV viewers can help someone they know who could use extra cash immediately.

Each week someone will receive $400 cash because one of their friends or co-workers wants to “Pay It 4Ward.”

When nominating, make sure to include your name, daytime phone number, who you nominate and why. Please follow all the criteria when nominating. 

Email all that detailed information to us for it to be considered. 

payit4ward@kfor.com

Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.

Click here for the rules for Pay it 4Ward 

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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