A Tolleson high school senior couldn't seem to catch a break. Just when the many hardships in her life were starting to clear, a crook robbed her house, possibly ruining her chance at a college education.
Then a friend stepped in to pay it forward.
Lisa Arnold Holden has her hands full. She used to run a rescue for Australian bearded dragons and still has 30 scattered about the house. It's not easy to find someone willing to help out with the spiny critters, but a lack of squeamishness is just one of the many traits that makes Tolleson high school senior Kaylee Wetherill special.
"She's got this fun, bubbly exterior but she's got the biggest heart," Holden said.
When Wetherill isn't doing odd jobs for Holden, she's usually painting, creating beautiful works of art that she hopes will help land her a spot at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. She is determined to be the first in her family to attend college. But after weeks of researching scholarships and filling out applications on her brand new laptop, someone broke into her home and stole it.
"She's been through so much already. She shouldn't have to keep overcoming these obstacles," Holden said.
Wetherill is the oldest of five siblings and often has to fill in around the house while her mom, the sole provider, works long hours to pay the bills.
With the laptop gone, Wetherill lost homework assignments, her research and her momentum.
Holden couldn't stand the thought of a criminal act derailing Wetherill's success, so she contacted CBS 5 News.
"Kaylee, I am so proud of you, you've been through so much and this is for you. I'm paying it forward because I want to help you start your life and go to college and make a really good life. Your mom worked really hard to make it possible so that you could do this and you are going to do so well. You are going to go places," Holden told Wetherill.
"I'm just elated because I didn't expect this at all," Wetherill said.
Wetherill said the $500 will allow her not only to replace her laptop but also buy her ticket to prom.
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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