Paige Hill is more active than most girls her age. At thirteen, Hill has already worked with 4-H to show animals, played a variety of sports and has done well in school. It would be a crowded schedule for any teenager, but for Hill, it’s more than just staying busy.
It is keeping her alive. Hill was born with a degenerative disease that is found in only one out of 500,000 people that inhibits her ability to dispose of certain waste products inside her body. The disease has hindered everything from her balance, to her sight and overall health, leading to many trips to the hospital. But the one thing the disease couldn’t take away was Hill’s positive attitude.
“In spite of her disability, she has never let it stop her,” Nancy Johnson said. Having taught Hill for six years in school, Johnson described her as a sweet girl that everyone loved. She had even more nice things to say about Hill’s single mother of four, Michelle Hill.
“Michelle is an amazing woman. I’ve never heard her complain once. Working with her and Paige is the reason I’ve gained a more positive attitude in life,” Johnson continued.
Paige Hill’s story has began to spread through the community thanks to a GoFundMe page set up online by another one of Hill’s former teachers, Heidi Tokerud. The page, which acts as an online place to accept donations to support Hill’s family and pay for medical expenses, has already raised over $2,000. Tokerud hopes that by getting the word out, even more will rally to aid the family.
“Michelle is just a very thoughtful and caring person who never asks for help, but right now could use some. So if people want to do something hristmas-y,
donating some money would be a really nice thing to do,” Tokerud said.
After the GoFundMe page went online, Tokerud looked for other outlets to help generate support. On Tuesday, the Ely Central Theater joined in, taking donations for Hill’s family and holding a silent auction in their concessions area during a showing of “The Polar Express.”
“Wealth is the ability to be generous, so in that way this community is very wealthy,” Lani said of the outpouring of support.
After the showing of the movie, Marco Pacheco took the stage to sing a couple of Christmas carols with his brother to try and generate more donations. Pecheco’s family volunteered to sell home-made tamales for donations to Hill’s family. As of Tuesday, the tamales had raised another $500.
“It is Christmas and Christmas is about giving. I just want them to be able to be happy,” he said.
To Hill’s oldest brother Brandon Hill, the amount of support his family has received from the community thus far has been overwhelming, even from people he didn’t know.
“It is just really good to see people that I know and people that are just walking in from the street joint together to chip in and help,” Brandon Hill said.
Hill’s GoFundMe page will remain open through the beginning of 2015 according to Tokerud. For those that would like to donate, visit www.gofundme.com/j5aa50.