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Paying it forward to charity granting wishes to dying adults

Archie Pettit and a daughter share a sunset walk on the Oregon coast.

Sometimes, the people in the stories we tell, touch us deeply. They change us. Such is the case with Archie Pettit. We got to know Archie and his family while shooting a “Pay It Forward” on a local charity called Wish Granters. Sadly, a couple weeks after we met, Archie was dead. He succumbed to the cancer that had tormented him for too long.

This Pay It Forward goes to Wish Granters, but it is also in memory of Archie. Rest in Peace.

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) “Are you Doug? Hi Doug.” Tim Toy of Mountain America Credit Union strides up to Doug Raper, the founder of Wish Granters. They shake hands and Tim shows him an envelope. "We heard the great things you’ve done for Archie and others, and we just want to pay it forward to you. So in this envelope we have $500.” Tim takes the five bills from the envelope and fans them out for a shocked Doug Raper. “Thank you. This will make a difference."

Wish Granters makes a difference for adults with terminal illnesses and their families. What Make-A-Wish Foundation does for children, Wish Granters does for adults.

Doug said, “It's important to the people we do these wishes for -- the dying and the people who are close to them. It's important to have something special. There are a lot of organizations that do wishes for kids and they do amazing things for these kids. I used to do it, but very little was being done for these adults. And they have needs and wishes and dreams that they would like to see come true as well. And that's why we formed Wish Granters.”

We met Archie Pettit, his wife, Jan, and one of his daughters, Jodi, in their east Boise home. Archie was dying from advanced liver cancer. His wish was to return one last time to the Oregon coast to see friends and have a family reunion.

Wish Granters made it happen.

Jan said, “We wanted to just go home. We wanted to feel the ocean and remember what it was like to be alive and not sick and hear the kids’ laughter. This wonderful organization did that for us.”

Jodi remembered how hard her dad worked while she was growing up and how that work often took him away from the family on holidays. “The trip gave us the opportunity to grab some of those holidays,” Jodi said. “I think it was the most wonderful thing. We talk about celebrations of life after people are gone. We got to celebrate his life with him.”

Wish Granters not only got them a place to stay in Lincoln, Oregon, but also provided a mobile home for the drive from Boise. In Archie’s condition, he could not fly. So the mobile home made the roundtrip a lot more comfortable.

Jodi remembers, “I learned things about my dad, 18 hours in a trailer back and forth across the mountains, that I didn't know. We just never had time to talk about it. It helped us build this box of memories.”

Jan added, “It helped us to release.”

“It gave me a lot of peace,” said Archie. “A lot of peace.”

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