Stranger's dying wish is for book to help teen beat cancer
Lyndon Kelly, left.
Sandy Wagner, Katie's aunt
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
They were perfect strangers. But two families in Anthem are hoping a book will help save the life of a 16-year-old girl diagnosed with cancer.
Katie Wagner was diagnosed with a fast moving cancer in October. The disease has attacked her bones and lungs.
"Some weeks, the chemo side effects are just really, really hard," said Sandy Wagner, Katie Wagner's aunt.
Katie, a Boulder Creek High School sophomore, spends five days a week in treatment.
Her family is struggling to find a way to pay for it now that their insurance has been canceled.
Then, two weeks ago, Sandy Wagner received an email from a stranger.
"And she said, 'First of all, I don't know who you are. You don't know who I am but I think I have a really good idea. A fundraising idea and I'd like to meet with you,'" Sandy Wagner recalled.
Enter Kim Freid, who wrote the email, and Great Gramma Anne's Scrap Book.
Freid learned about Katie on Facebook, and decided she wanted to help.
Her grandfather, Lyndon Kelly, was diagnosed with the same type of cancer in December.
"We were talking about Katie and I told Grandpa that I would love to make his book a best seller," Freid said.
"So I said, 'What would you think, Grandpa, about doing 10 percent to the Katie Wagner Fund?' Then he said, 'Why wouldn't we give 100 percent?' and I was just really overwhelmed."
Gramma Anne's Scrap Book is a collection of articles, recipes and remedies compiled by Kelly's great aunt more than a century ago.
The two families teamed up, but before Katie could meet him, Kelly died Friday.
"There's no doubt that the final weeks of his life, he was touched that there was going to be an effort made," Freid said, "especially when he saw the YouTube videos with the pictures of Katie. He just sobbed and he said, 'I really can't believe that this is going to help somebody.'"
Before the partnership began, Kelly's book came in on Amazon's best-seller list at around 690,000.
"Sandy and I were just looking and we are in the top 100 in both the categories 'self-help' and 'memoirs' and we are 608 overall," Freid said Wednesday.
The book gives hope that Kelly's dying wish might help give Katie life.