The community reacts; woman will be with daughter

Carson City heard the call and once again responded like the city of heroes that it is.

In less than a week, enough money was raised and helpers secured so that Brenda Boni, suffering from cerebral degenerative disease, degenerative disc disease and fibromyalgia, can spend the remainder of her life in the care of her daughter in Texas.

This weekend big-hearted strangers will converge on Boni's Silver Sage Drive home and begin packing her belongings and a U-Haul truck.

On Monday, a volunteer will take off in the truck rented with money donated by people who heard Boni's plea for help.

By the middle of next week, Boni, 55, will be in her daughter's arms like she had requested only six days ago.

The response to her story, which ran in the Nevada Appeal on Friday, was overwhelming. Offers of help poured in and donations flooded a Wells Fargo account Boni's daughter Amy set up on behalf of her mother.

They do not need anything else, said Amy. The need has been met.

"I'm absolutely surprised. I expected people to help out a little, but obviously the story really touched a lot of people, much more than what was expected," said Amy, 25, a nursing student. "I just want to say thank you. In a lot of ways it has really restored my faith in people. People have no idea how much their contributions have helped. It made an impossible situation possible. I really didn't know if we could make it happen."

Both Brenda and Amy agree that volunteer Christine Tuttle's offer to take care of the influx of help was invaluable.

Tuttle not only became the point of contact for volunteers, but she also coordinated the help, selected the rental truck offered by U-Haul at a discount, and organized the packing party to take place this weekend.

"She has helped immensely. Not only is she handling everything, she's been providing emotional support for my mom and me. Chris has put everything on hold to help us out. She's handling everything," said Amy.

Brenda said the response to her story was so great she could never have managed it without Tuttle's help.

"She did everything; she even let me cry on her shoulder," said Brenda. "I'm grateful for Dan (Babb), for Christine, for everybody, for all the people that didn't know me and who opened their hearts to me."

Tuttle said she was honored to help.

"I was very proud when all these people started coming forward; it made me proud of this community," she said. "You can have all the money in the world, all the material things, but it comes down to the fact that you always need people, you always need friends and support. People have to pull together and they have. It's really cool."

Dan Babb, 57, will drive Boni's rental truck to Amy's home in Arlington, Texas. Originally from Dallas, Babb said his offer was fueled by more than just knowledge of the route.

"I had a young lady work for me that was my best friend's daughter down in Texas. She got cervical cancer, and we had some friends down there that had plenty of money and they hired an ambulance jet to fly her back to Texas so she could die in her home. I could understand where (Brenda) was coming from," said Babb, a retired high-tech executive from the Bay Area. "It's a payback you gotta do in life, and the lady deserves to go be with her daughter. As I told (Brenda) last night, it's my pleasure."

In addition to driving the truck, Babb looked to a friend with hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles, and the friend secured Babb's return ticket home.

"I believe in paying it forward. Every time I help somebody they say, what can we do to repay you, and I say, pay it forward," said Babb.

Boni said she can't believe her dream is coming true.

"I didn't expect such a response. I was prepared just to sell everything and pack a suitcase," she said her voice cracking. "I just feel like I need to get to Amy right away, and Dan says they have the best doctors in Texas, so maybe they can do something for me. I need to go, even if I have just a day."0


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