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Nurses, doctors paying it forward in wake of Boston, Waco tragedies

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

It is no secret - last week was a hard week. Between the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the explosion in West, Texas, the nation's heart was breaking for all those affected.

One group of people that worked the hardest during this week was probably the nurses and doctors at hospitals in Boston and Waco.

That's what sparked an idea, here in Charlotte, from an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at Carolinas Medical Center.

Nancy took up a collection on Saturday with the idea of buying lunch for ICU nurses at Mass General Hospital, in Boston, who were helping to treat people injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.

"Being so far away from a disaster like that we all want to help out in some way," Nancy said.

She thought she'd raise a few dollars, but instead raised $136.

The group ordered pizzas and had them sent to Mass General Hospital's ICU on Saturday.

"Heartfelt thanks to Carolinas Medical Center ICU for buying lunch for our ICU staff today," Ed Bajwa, MGH's ICU director tweeted on Saturday. "Wonderful end to a rough week."

The nurses in Boston were so touched by the move, they decided to pay it forward.

"Yesterday, Carolinas Medical [Center] bought lunch for our ICU," Bajwa tweeted on Sunday, "Today, lunch and dinner are on us, @Hillcrest_Waco ICU. Enjoy!"

Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, in Texas, has been treating more than two dozen patients from the deadly explosion in West, Texas from last Wednesday.

Along with a pizza meal came a note.

"Thanks for all of your hard work. From one member of the E.R. family," signed Chris Kabrhel, M.D. from Mass General Hospital.

According to Hillcrest's Facebook page, the staff in Waco and the staff in Massachusetts held a Skype session on Tuesday to talk to one another.

A Texas restaurant, who saw the delivery of pizza to the Waco staff, decided it wanted to thank Boston's kindness - Texas style.

A group from 3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House, outside of Dallas, said "we knew we needed to say 'Thank you!'."

The team hopped a plane to Boston at 4 a.m., with five coolers, and served a Texas-style BBQ and rib lunch to more than 200 ER doctors at Boston Mass Hospital on Tuesday.

"For the medical staff in Boston to be so thoughtful in the middle of their own city's tragedy and
think about us down here in Texas was just awesome," said restaurant owner Trace Arnold.

"There's been a lot of pain and chaos these past few days and it's easy to get wrapped up in your own stuff. I commend the medical community of Boston for showing us such a big heart. In Texas everything is bigger and better so I couldn't wait to deliver some mouth-watering ribs and say 'thank you' back to them."

WBTV has learned that Delta Air Lines donated the tickets for the impromptu trip.

"Delta is very proud to support both the families and volunteers that have worked countless hours to help our communities. We are very pleased to provide our services to connect an amazing local BBQ restaurant in Dallas with the doctors and nurses in Boston that have given their hearts to the people in need," said Hal Hayes, DFW Station Manager for Delta Air Lines.

Dr. Kabrhel was present for the luncheon at Boston Mass and expressed his thanks to the team.

Kabrhel wanted to let the world know that "with all the crazy in the world, Americans pull together, no matter our political or religious beliefs."

Several of the Boston Mass staff wore cowboy boots to show their excitement for the Texans visit.

The group also brought along a flag from Hillcrest Hospital signed by everyone in their ER/Trauma unit.

Nancy didn't know until Thursday about the last leg of the "paying it forward" venture. She says the whole thing just started as a way for nurses here to help nurses there. 

"I have this idea in my head that people should just be good people. We should be kind to each other. And that's really awesome that those people have, you know, that it's going in that direction," said Nancy.

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