Valeria Reiss of Ramsey, Illinois, helps two families for her Pay It Forward Challenge, calling it "one of the most exciting things that I've ever done in my life."
A few years ago, Valeria's husband, Jim, died while they were on vacation in Maine. Grieving and alone, Valeria had to fly home, leaving her car behind. Ross, an acquaintance, used his truck to bring her car home in her time of need.
Some time after helping Valeria, Ross's legs were crushed between his truck and trailer, causing him to undergo several surgeries, and his wife was diagnosed with cancer. So to help Ross in his time of need, Valeria gives him a $500 gift card to Wal-Mart for necessities.
Valeria uses the other $500, to help another family. Tom suffered a stroke, and his wife Marlene has run the family business ever since. To make things a little easier, Valeria gives them a $250 gift card to Wal-Mart and a $250 gift card for gas.
"It was a thrill of a lifetime to be able to do something like this," Valeria says. "It's given me a whole new outlook on helping others."