KILLEEN, Texas — A special friendship formed between a teen and a man who helped save her eyesight.
Madison Barnett, 18, was preparing for a life of restriction after her insurance company refused to pay for a surgery to save her eyesight.
The community quickly raised the $7,000 needed to cover the procedure, but one man named Ray Clayton donated a whopping $4,500 to the cause to make sure Barnett got what she needed.
"It felt really awesome because it relieved me that I knew I had enough money to have my surgery, and it just relieved some of the stress that I had," Barnett said.
Clayton's late wife, Jane, had eye problems too and also had surgery to keep her eyesight. So, Ray wanted to do something to honor his wife while also helping Barnett.
"Whenever I saw the news clip, I just knew I had to do something. I just couldn't see someone not getting the full benefit of the technology that we have today just because of money, so I just felt compelled to try and help her out if I could, “Clayton said.
Ray's donation allowed Barnett to reach her fundraising goal and afford the surgery that will help prevent her from going blind. Barnett’s mother, Phyllis Bailey, is overjoyed.
"I still can't believe it. He donated a lot just for my daughter. Now she gets to have what she needs," Bailey said.
Clayton said he hopes his kind act will encourage more people to pay it forward.
"You know if you've got it, there's no reason not to. People die with a lot of money in a checking account that could've done a lot of good for somebody," Clayton said.
Clayton and Barnett now share a special lifelong bond and look to the future with hope. All the while knowing Clayton’s wife, Jane, is smiling down on them both.
Several agents with Barnett’s insurance company have filed appeals on her behalf. Ray says if for some reason the company decides to reverse their decision and pay for the procedure, he wants Barnett to keep his donation and put it toward her college fund.
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