CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
Wanda Bryant wasn’t sure why she was driving to Charlotte from her Aiken County, South Carolina home. She only knew her best friend Fonda Bryant (same last name, no relation) told her she’d organized a surprise. Fonda needed Wanda there.
So Wanda drove to WBTV Studios in west Charlotte.
When she walked in, Wanda seemed a little anxious. Unsure. Wondering what the heck she was getting into.
Then a woman stepped forward. She introduced herself as Wendy Bentien, a board member with the local charity “Go Jen Go!”. It’s a small non-profit established in honor of Jen Pagani, a young, strong-willed Charlotte mother battling breast cancer.
The same breast cancer as Wanda.
Wendy told Wanda she was here to give her something on behalf of “Go Jen Go!”. Wendy then reached in a bag and pulled out a thousand dollar check. She handed it to Wanda. Wendy told her it was a gift… just enough to pay for her church missionary trip to Africa.
For months, Wanda said she’d been trying to raise the money so she could go.
“I’ve been selling boxes of popcorn,” she said, “and just putting pennies together because I really, really wanted to go to West Ghana. It’s my lifelong dream of a trip.”
Despite Wanda’s efforts, she hadn’t yet sold enough popcorn. The trip is in one month. Wanda feared she wasn’t going to be able to make it.
But with this check from “Go Jen Go!”, there’s no doubt she can.
“This is the greatest feeling,” said Wendy, who got teary-eyed herself at Wanda’s emotional reaction. “This foundation was established because of Jen’s heart. It’s to help other women going through the same thing. Jen is the strongest woman I know and she wants others to feel supported through their battles.”
How did Wanda and Fonda and Wendy and WBTV all get together to make this surprise work?
All credit must go to Fonda, the best friend. She got online looking for charities to help fund her friend’s trip. She then contacted Anchor Molly Grantham via her Facebook page. Add a little bit of magic, some luck and a lot of energy over a 6-day period, and voila! The group all met Thursday afternoon.
“I just wanted to give her something to help her,” Fonda said. “To make her dream come true. I can’t even put it into words. I love her. She’s been a great friend to me in my tough times, and I wanted to return the happiness.”
To get more information on “Go Jen Go!” and to register for the non-profit’s first fundraising 5k, go to www.runjenrun5k.com. The run (you can walk!) will be March 2, 2013 at McAlpine Creek Park.
Click the attached video to see Wanda’s reaction, and the full story.
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