Pay it Forward in Hellam, York County

This week’s “Pay it Forward” led us to the Tourist Inn in Hellam, York County. Behind the counter of the bar was Michele Decker, who had 12-year-old Victoria Boyd in mind for a $200 surprise.

Victoria suffers from distal spinal muscular atrophy. The disease affects her breathing, causes her muscles to waste away and weakens her immune system. Scoliosis has confined her to a wheelchair.

“They have to carry her up and down the stairs because they don’t have a chairlift for the family for the house,” Decker said. “They don’t have a vehicle that’s really easy access for them to get her around to her doctor’s appointments.”

Decker said she’s inspired by families like Victoria’s, who go through so much to care for a child with special needs.

“I do have two children. And I don’t know if I could have the strength as a mom to be able to do what these parents do,” she said.

After a drive to Dover, Decker arrived at Victoria’s doorstep to give the family $200.

For Victoria, getting a special van that can transport her wheelchair would be a dream come true.

“It’s going to change my whole life,” Victoria said. “I’m going to be really happy.”

She said she’s thankful to have so many people looking out for her, including her younger brother Joey.

“I just really love my sister and if anyone’s mean, I stand up for her,” Joey Rugh, 7, said.

Everyday, Victoria is surprising her family, becoming stronger and more independent.

“It’s nice to see her do things on her own,” said Aaron Rugh, Victoria’s father.

Added Victoria’s mother Holly, “And every day is a blessing.”

The Tourist Inn at 671 W. Market Street, Hellam, PA 17406 is holding a benefit for Victoria on Saturday, December 1, starting at 2 p.m. It’ll include a silent auction and giveaways.

To find out more or it you would like to donate an item for the auction, call (717) 755-7629 and ask for Annette Thoman or Michele Decker.