Dolores Wood believes in angels.
"There's angels all over the house," Wood said with a gentle smile, pointing to the various glass figurines arranged around the living room of her South Jeffco home.
But Wood recently encountered an angel outside her home — a stranger who paid for more than $200 in medications needed for her daughter Trudy's cancer treatment.
Trudy Wood, 49, was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly a year ago and has been taking medications in the run-up to a surgical procedure. She has a gap in her insurance, but between her disability income and her mother's Social Security payments, they always found a way to scrape together several hundred dollars for her prescriptions each month.
But July 19 was different. Trudy and her mother were shopping about 4:30 p.m. at the King Soopers at South Pierce Street and West Coal Mine Avenue, and they came up short of money for the prescriptions. Dolores Wood negotiated with the pharmacist for enough medicine to get by, and she was told it would take about 20 minutes to fill the order. She and Trudy left the pharmacy to walk around the store.
"When we got back, we were told it had been paid for," Dolores said.
While Dolores was negotiating with the pharmacist, a woman behind her overheard the conversation and told the pharmacist — after Dolores and Trudy stepped away — that she would pay for the full prescription.
"It's very touching, and very much appreciated," Dolores said. "We had tears. It was quite moving."
The mystery benefactor told the pharmacists not to reveal her identity, so the Woodses don't know whom to thank.
Dolores said she's not surprised a person from the South Jeffco community would do something like this.
“It's a great area," she said. "That's why we've lived here for so long."
Meanwhile, the mystery woman’s generous act is being paid forward, brightening lives and setting off a chain of goodwill.
"I told everyone I know about it," Dolores said, adding that she related the story to family in several other states. "It has brought results from other people."
Many miles from South Jeffco, Dolores' niece saw a man who looked tired and hungry at a gas station and bought him lunch.
But the act has paid off locally as well. Someone donated a large amount of money to the Woodses’ church, Heritage United Methodist, for parishioners' medical needs after the minister told the story to the congregation.
Dolores said her faith has carried her through the last trying year, during which her husband died of cancer her and daughter was diagnosed with the breast cancer. She's comforted to know she has the support of her church’s congregation.
The Woodses have lived in their home on West Maplewood Place for 36 years. They moved to Colorado from McCook, Neb., when Trudy was just 5 months old. Dolores' husband started a successful business in construction, and later in life he operated a truck and recreational vehicle rental business. Trudy's brother now runs the truck rental business, and Trudy had worked at Deer Creek Animal Hospital and the Firehouse Kennel for the last 10 years before her illness.
Trudy, a shy woman with a big smile, said with tears in her eyes that she would like to simply tell her mysterious benefactor, "Thank you."
"It's just such an unselfish and caring thing to do," Dolores said.
Dolores likes to talk about the angels in her house, and the angels in her life. She wears an angel pin — similar to the ones that she's given to all of Trudy's nurses and doctors.
"These people who do things like this don't get any recognition," Dolores said. "But they should, whether they like it or not. I believe in angels. I think she's one of our angels here on Earth."