JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As soon as our Pay It 4ward story aired last Thursday about a military family struggling with a medical crisis, Cindy Bosnyak contacted me to ask how she could help.
The Orange Park mother wanted to match a $250 donation from Publix Super Markets for Elsienor and Loreto Java. The USO told us about the military family when we contacted it asking for suggestions finding a family we could help as part of our Pay it 4ward stories.
I surprised Elsienor, Loreto and their three children at their Southside home with the Publix gift card and also food and household items donated by BEAM, as the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry is known. BEAM helps families who live or work at the beach. Loreto Java is stationed at Naval Station Mayport.
Cindy told me she was moved by Elsienor’s story after learning about the young mother’s breast cancer diagnosis. Cindy’s own mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Cindy was a teenager.
“I understood the struggle,” Cindy said as she accompanied me to the Java house to surprise Elsienor with a $250 check.
“I just wanted to give you a check to match the funds (donated by Publix). I am now at a point in my life where I am successful and I wanted to pay it 4ward to you,” Cindy said as she handed Java a check.
“I was a single parent when my daughter was just 4 years old and it was a rough time. I really didn’t have anything. Someone helped me and now I want to help her,” Cindy told me.
"Thank you, thank you very much,” Elsienor told Cindy as the two women hugged.
Java was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly two years ago. Her doctor delivered the devastating news over the phone. At that time, her husband, Loreto, was deployed. Their youngest child was just 5 months old, their older sons were 7 and 4 years old.
”I’m like, 'Oh my God.' I cried so hard. I was like, 'Am I going to die?' I have three small children and my husband was deployed," Java said, describing that call.
The couple is from the Philippines and has no family here. Loreto has served in the Navy for six years. He was able to get reassigned to Naval Station Mayport, where he has spent the last year caring for his wife and children. Elsienor had to undergo a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.
Their biggest hardship is financial, so they are grateful for Bosnyak’s donation.
“I will pay it forward too, someday,” Java said as she hugged Cindy.
The Java family said having a positive attitude has helped them. They’ll likely have to draw from that attitude in the coming weeks, Loreto is scheduled to deploy again next month.
We hope this story and our Pay It 4ward series inspires you to do the same. We would love to hear about your acts of kindness. Just email email@example.com