Southern Illinois family 'paying it forward' - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Southern Illinois family 'paying it forward'

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ZEIGLER, IL (KFVS) -

It's the ultimate pay-it-forward story.

A southern Illinois family once in need is giving back to a program that did so much for them.

Zoie Garner is one happy, energetic 6-year-old - but she had a rough start.

Zoie's mom had a difficult pregnancy putting both their lives at risk.

"The mom gave about all she had to keep my daughter healthy inside of her to the point to where it about killed her," said Zane Garner. "It was a big struggle."

Dad Zane Garner says if it weren't for the Ronald McDonald House, his family's life-threatening situation could have been much worse.

"If I wouldn't of had a place to stay, I would have been out in the cold," said Garner. "I had about $1,000 on me but that would have went quick with hotels and all of that."

That's why Zoie, her dad and her classmates teamed up to pay back the kindness shown to them.

They've been collecting soda tabs. In fact, thousands of them. They'll give them all to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House.

One by one, helping other families facing a crisis as theirs did.

"It's easy to do, you see a can or drink a soda just take the can tab off of it and it makes a big difference for other people."

Because Zane and Zoie say, they can't thank the Ronald McDonald program enough for what it did for them.

"It was a big deal to me to have a roof over my head," said Garner. "It's the right thing to do."

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