Pay It Forward thank you from one special needs mom to another

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Kirsten Meredith says she never expected to be the mother of a special needs son.

"There are special needs families everywhere going on and you don't realize that growing up," she says.

But when her son Kole was born she found herself on a very lonely road. 

"You think your child is going to be typical and to find out there is something going on, you just shouldn't have to go through anything like that alone."

Meredith says thanks to one persistent parent, she attended a meeting at the Foundation for Blind Children. 

"It changed my whole world. I had already signed papers not to send him to school and then it opened a new world and I decided I wanted to be a person to make people feel good."

And that started a chain reaction when Meredith met the Cook family, just starting down that same road.

"Parker has some significant gastro-intestinal issues, where he is unable to eat by mouth. He has some weakness and is visually impaired," explains mom Bridget.

And like Meredith, she was prepared for a lonely journey.

“You find yourself just unable to connect to your friends that have their typical functioning children. You worry about your other children, you worry about your relationship."

Little did she know at the time Meredith was ready to ease those fears.

"It took a lot to get me to that first meeting, so I was pretty timid. I was pretty scared to be there and even to acknowledge that my child was special needs. So having this young woman who is 15 years younger than me just befriend me and say we are here for you."

"I just remember going through what I went through and I felt so alone too," says Meredith, "And so you make friends and go through it together."

But Cook says Kirsten Meredith has become so much more than just a friend and she shared a moment of thanks with us and the Pay it Forward team.

"I nominated you for Pay It Forward because you have been such an inspiration in my life. You were the first person that came up to me and made me feel so at home. You don't know how much you gave to me, I was in such a lonely spot, you reached out to me." 

And she gratefully shared the $500 reward as what she called a small token of thanks.

Cook says Meredith has inspired her to be more compassionate herself and they have built a network of friends ready to pay it forward to the next family traveling that same road.

Meredith says she was shocked by the gesture, but grateful she is able to make a difference.

"I don't even understand how much of an effect I have had, but it is good to know my little actions have made a difference to someone else."

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