In 1992, when Francie Biesanz was the victim of a crime, the kindness of strangers helped strengthen her and overcome her feeling of isolation. With the Pay It Forward Challenge, she looks for an opportunity to honor those who helped her by helping someone in her hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Francie sets out to find a person who has taken a stance against a perpetrator and will benefit from the gift. She contacts the La Crosse County Victim/Witness Assistance Program, which connects her with Michelle, a survivor of severe domestic abuse and sexual assault. Michelle is the mother of two young boys, including one who is autistic.
After 11 years in an abusive marriage, Michelle found the courage to leave her husband and make a new start with her children. The money Francie gives her will be used to pay off some of her bills and give her sons the wonderful Christmas they deserve.
"I am excited to provide this opportunity for her," Francie says. "I know she reached a point in her life where she no longer would take abuse and that she wasn't going to take it anymore and that she needed to take a stand against her abuser and stand up for herself and her children, and I am hoping that this money will provide her with opportunities that she would not have had without this gift."