Birthday surprise for ‘Big Ma’

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We're paying it forward in Henrico at "Big Ma's" house.  That's what the kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and many, many foster children  call Mrs. Lucille Blaze.

On the eve of Big Ma's 65th birthday,  one young mother that she helped through a crisis asked us to help deliver an Act of Kindness surprise.

"Say hey, my miracle baby," Latrice said, showing NBC12 her baby.

Latrice Garrison is starting over in a new home with a new addition, baby John.

The baby born prematurely.

"That picture right there, 4lbs. He was 4lbs when he come out," Latrice said.

The baby she feared she might lose.

"He was losing weight inside me. The doctor said, 'He's not gaining weight,' and I was like, 'Oh my God,'" Latrice said. "I had diabetes, so they put me in the hospital. There was a chance I could die, or the baby could die. They had to cut my stomach. That was the most painful thing I could have went through, and she was right there, she was right there."

'She' would be Big Ma.

"She's an angel here on earth," said Latrice. "She was right there to help me with the baby and everything and I said, 'Lord, I thank you.' She brought all the groceries. I had this little list, and she went in the store and got everything."

And with just three words, she says Big Ma encouraged her not to give up baby John.

"She said that's my blessing," Latrice said. "I love him so much and all my kids. They've been helping me with him, and I love my kids."

Latrice's own mother is dead, but Big Ma is there, not just for her, but for the sick and the homeless too.

"She took some homeless people in, fed 'em, clothed 'em. She give the clothes and her time," Latrice said. With her doing everything for everybody else, I want to give her something back in return."

SABRINA: "Here's $100, $200, $300 for your special angel."
LATRICE: "All right, thank you Jesus."

Latrice packs up the little ones and we all head out to Big Ma's house for what turned out to be the most  heartfelt, tearful reunion, birthday gathering and Act of Kindness surprise.

LATRICE: "You deserve it because you mean so much to me, and I love you. You've just been there so much for me in my life, and I just want to thank you so much for everything you've done for me, and you're like the mother I never had. And I just thank God for you, because you ain't had to do what you did, when I came out the hospital with the baby, when I went in the hospital with the baby. You ain't had to encourage me about not giving my baby away."
LUCILLE: "You know I love you. You know that."
LATRICE: "For Acts of Kindness that's $100, $200, $300. I love you. Thank you so much, very much."
LUCILLE: "Wow, this is a surprise. Thank you all so very much. I really appreciate it, really appreciate it. I just love people. I just try to do the best I can, because I came up very hard, and now I get a chance to give back."

She especially gives back to kids. Lucille herself was a foster child, now a proud Big Ma to six kids, 24 grandkids, 14 great grandchildren, and two dozen foster children and godchildren.

"I'm just surrounded by love," Big Ma said.

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