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Pay it Forward gives to woman with autism foundation

January 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Jennifer Morgan's son Jacob has autism. So when she was asked who she would give $500 to as part of our Pay it Forward campaign, she thought of someone in a similar situation.

"I'm thinking of a friend that has an autistic son and anyone in that community can use $500, especially for an iPad. It will help them communicate," said Morgan.

YouTube is full of videos of kids with autism improving their communication skills, thanks to apps specially designed for the iPad.

Get more information on the ABC7 Pay It Forward campaign

We offered Morgan the $500, but with the catch that she had to give the money away to someone that could really use some extra cash. It couldn't be anyone in her family, that she lived with or an organization.

Morgan thought of Elisa Swan who organizes West Coast events for a group called A.Skate. Their mission is to use skateboards to help kids with autism gain acceptance.

Swan works for free and hasn't been able to afford an iPad for her 5-year-old son Nathan who has autism.

Swan wasn't initially home, but Morgan wouldn't give up. She called Swan and urged her to come back to the house.

"I want to help you guys be the first ones to get an iPad," said Morgan. "With Channel 7, we're paying it forward to you and Nathan, and we hope this helps."

After the initial shock Swan couldn't hold back the tears and embraced Morgan.

"Thank you so much," said Swan. "Oh my God, I can't believe this!"

"It's the least anyone could do for you," said Morgan. "All the time and hours you've donated helping thousands of children with autism, you've done everything Elisa. And this is the least anyone could for you."

Swan immediately thought of all the kids she's met with A.skate.

"We put on these events where our children come, and they can be themselves and no one looks at you funny," said Swan. "It's amazing because we all are a huge family."

Morgan says those events changed her life.

"During those events, no one is judging my son," said Morgan. "No one is staring at him; he can be Jacob, the real Jacob."

And now Swan hopes the iPad will open up a whole new world for her son.

"It's just something I never thought I'd be able to use for my son because I knew I would never be able to buy one," said Swan. "So, I can't believe this, it's incredible."

When Swan's husband came home from work he never expected he'd see this.

"She deserves it, this is my wife's effort," said Bo Swan. "I very much appreciate it. Thank you."

Get more information on the ABC7 Pay It Forward campaign