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Residents of Liberty, Utah, Support Family in Crisis

Residents of Liberty, Utah, Support Family in Crisis

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Tonya Papanikolas reporting In the mountains northeast of Ogden is a city called Liberty. At least one family claims it's home to the most generous people you'll ever find.

The Starnes family says they'll never be able to repay their friends and neighbors. This past September, Jeffrey Starnes learned his wife Karen had an aggressive brain tumor. Doctors told them her chances of survival were slim, an unimaginable thought with six young children.

Jeffrey Starnes, Wife Diagnosed with Brain Tumor: "We talked about our future without her."

The couple sought alternative treatment in Houston. But the down payment was $19,000. Before they knew it, word had spread, and people started pitching in.

Jeffrey Starnes: "People just walk up to me, 'Here's some money. We don't know you, but we're concerned.'"

Liberty residents came together to organize fundraiser after fundraiser. In October, friends and neighbors threw a Halloween carnival with different booths for the kids. The next month, friends hosted a special dinner auction at an Ogden hotel. The place was packed with people who love Karen.

Julie Rhodes, Karen's Sister-in-Law: "I don't think any of us in the family really knew that any of these were happening until they started."

Friends raised more than $30-thousand for treatment. But Karen's body did not respond. More than two months after her diagnosis, she passed away.

Michael Starnes, Misses His Mom: "I miss just talking to her."

Abigail Starnes, Misses Her Mom: "Her hugs were just so awesome."

While the pain doesn't go away, neither has the love of the community. While Jeffrey's at work, neighbors and family now help take care of the children. They drive them to activites, cook, do the young girls' hair and even clean their clothes.

Jeffrey Stames: "More than just the substance and the work and the effort, it's been the expressions of love to me and the kids."

The family says it's a love they'll never forget.

One last fundraiser, a February 5th concert at Weber State's Browning Center will raise money for a nanny.

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