By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on July 17, 2021
After undergoing an experimental treatment at Duke University in her fight against an aggressive form of brain cancer, Katie Capiz of Minnesota wanted to spend a week on the Outer Banks with her mother and four boys. When Kill Devil Hills resident Amanda McDanel learned last week that Capiz was planning the trip, she did what members of the Outer Banks community do so well.
She rallied for help. And it didn’t take long to get a response.
McDanel didn’t know Capiz. She only found out about her story from a friend in Raleigh who had heard that Capiz was looking for a vacation cottage on the Outer Banks after her treatments at Duke.
But after asking for donations on her Four if By Sea Facebook page, McDanel received $10,000 in monetary and in-kind donations within 48 hours — offerings that have made it possible for the Capiz family to have the vacation of a lifetime, expense free, from July 13 to 19.
“I always want to teach my daughters that no matter what your situation is, you can always be of service,” McDanel said of what inspired her to raise funds for the Capiz vacation. “Kindness is free, manners are free. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind.”
When Seaside Vacations Outer Banks provided the free accommodations and welcome package for Capiz, McDanel picked it up from there and used the donations to organize a week at the beach for the Capiz family.
Because of the generosity of those who donated — and McDanel estimates that most of that came from the Outer Banks community — the Capiz family has been the recipient of everything form a wildflower bouquet and swag from the Throwdown Surf Classic to a refrigerator stocked with groceries.
They’ve also been treated to authentic Outer Banks experiences, including a private tour of the U.S. Coast Guard Base at Oregon Inlet, a wild horse tour, a day at the OBX Waterpark, ghost crab hunting, expense-paid shopping sprees and great food at local Outer Banks restaurants.
McDanel’s campaign, called OBX Kindness for Katie, was so successful that Capiz and her family were escorted onto the Outer Banks by a caravan of local motorcycle groups, police agencies and local residents that met the family in Manns Harbor on July 13 before heading over the bridge to their vacation cottage in Kill Devil Hills.
In fact, there were so many donations that McDanel was able to fly out Capiz’s two best friends to surprise her and spend a few days with her and her family on the Outer Banks. The leftover funds raised by McDanel will go toward Capiz and her family’s next vacation stop in Washington, D.C.
McDanel has been offering updates on Capiz’s week at the beach on her Four If By Sea Facebook page, on which she recently posted, “To this point, every aspect of their trip from spending money for the boys, clothing to spoil the family, shopping sprees, treats, babysitting fees, household supplies, food requests, flights, rental cars, coffee, tips for servers, etc. – has been able to be paid for by our funds. They have not had to spend a dime out of pocket.”
McDanel has been tagging local businesses that have donated to OBX Kindness for Katie, and she told the Voice that that while there are so many to thank, Corolla Pizza was one that offered the largest monetary donation.
Aimee Triana, one of Capiz’s friends who flew in from Nebraska to spend time with her and her family on the Outer Banks, extended thanks to the Outer Banks community on McDanel’s social media site this week.
“I can’t thank [McDanel] and the OBX community for making these amazing memories for Katie and her family!” she posted. “These boys are feeling energized…and Katie and her mom are feeling your love while they enjoy seeing them laugh and giggle!”
She concluded, “This family so needed this moment in time to find peace and serenity during this hectic time in their lives. If I could give each and every one of you a squeeze, I would…Today, I ask that all of you find a small way to be extra gentle on yourself and find peace in knowing that YOU are part of something big and have made a difference in their lives!”