AURORA — After a story by Denver7's Meghan Lopez explaining natural gas price increases and how they relate to Xcel energy bill rates, a viewer decided to help a woman who spoke out about her bills.
Betty Cheeseman has been taking care of her 45-year-old daughter since August of 2018, after her daughter had three cardiac arrests back to back in 2017. She loves taking care of her daughter, and would not want her daughter to be anywhere else.
However, the electricity used taking care of her daughter makes up a large chunk of her Xcel energy bills. Cheeseman showed Denver7 two of the highest bills. One of them was around $2,000, and the other was just under $1,000.
“It just made it where I can't go out and buy groceries like I want to," Cheeseman said about sacrifices she's had to make to pay the bills.
Billy Piranian saw the original Denver7 story featuring Cheeseman.
“I usually don't watch news, not local news or anything. That was a Monday night, (the night) that Damar Hamlin got hurt. The football went away, and then the news came on. And somehow I just, you know, kept on watching it," Piranian explained. “The story about you (Cheeseman) came up. And somehow I was led by the Spirit just to pick up the phone and call, and to do this.”
Piranian said this over a Zoom call with Cheeseman on Tuesday evening. He also revealed what exactly he was doing for her.
"Betty, I'm going to pick up your electric bill for a year," Piranian said.
Cheeseman's hands flew to her face in shock. She could not find the words to express her gratitude at first, since she was not expecting such a gesture.
“Oh, gosh, this really is a blessing. Thank you so much," Cheeseman said, smiling from ear to ear. "Praise God... I'm just overjoyed. I just don't know what to say. I'm just — I'm overwhelmed.”
Piranian said he was honored to do this for Cheeseman.
“Betty, God has done so much for me. This is the least we can do," Piranian said. "Whatever the bill is, whatever she owes right now, just send it and I'll take care of it.”
The Denver7 Gives Foundation will help facilitate the payments for Cheeseman through Piranian's donations.
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