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Pay It Forward: Thatcher boys walk dogs to raise money for teacher

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THATCHER, AZ (CBS5) -

It might take you a dog-year to walk from the Valley to Thatcher, AZ, but there was a story in the small eastern Arizona town that called to us.

It's about a pair of precocious boys named Zach Wood and Braden Rapier, both 10 years old.

For the past couple of months, these best friends have offered to walk their neighbors' dogs in exchange for a donation to a special cause.

"I was just laying in bed, getting ready to go to sleep when I thought of an idea to help her, my teacher," said Braden.

"They are very thoughtful boys," said Lisa Hatch, the fourth grade reading teacher at Thatcher Elementary School.

Six years ago, Hatch's son, Carson, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that aggressively spread through his body.

"In November of this past year, doctors said he had over 50 tumors in his lungs and they didn't give him a whole lot of hope. They said chemo can't do anything else," said Hatch.

Even with health insurance, Hatch said the bills piled up over the years. And when Carson died in January, Zach and Braden still realized there was need to be met.

"I think they just wanted to be a part of what their community was talking about and wanted to help their teacher," said Janet Smith, who also lives in Thatcher.

Smith happily hands over a dollar a day for Zach and Braden to walk her schnauzers.

When Smith emailed CBS 5 and nominated the boys for our Pay It Forward segment, we decided to take a nice long drive to surprise them with the $500 reward.

Zach and Braden said they haven't thought about how long they'll continue to raise money for their teacher.

Maybe they've been too busy thinking of others.

Copyright 2012 KPHO (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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