When Gregg Murset told his six children that the whole family would be spending 20 days this summer traveling across the country in an RV and doing free chores for complete strangers, his children, aged 7 to 16, were at first stunned, then upset.
Despite the children’s unwillingness, the family hit the road on June 30. The family started the trip from their hometown of Phoenix and made stops at Albuquerque, Denver, Detroit and Richmond. Murset hopes to do chores for 25 families, one family in each city they stop by, in 20 days.
Murset had always wanted to lend a helping hand to those in need, especially families who are battling cancer. More importantly, he wanted to educate his children that there are many great people in the world who are going through some struggles. And they could use a little bit of help.
“As we started flushing out the tour, they [the children] really started to see the bigger picture,” Murset said. “They are really enjoying it now.”
“I think my three older kids had the biggest change of attitudes,” Murset said. “Teenagers today only think about themselves. It has been an eye-opening experience. The world is bigger than just them."
Murset said although the jobs they are doing are not extreme home makeover beyond people’s imagination, the families they helped out have been all very gracious.
"It was awesome to get their help. It saved us hours of work," Nichol Mattson, a Colorado mom who has been taking care of her daughter battling cancer for the past six years, told ABC News.
Mattson's daughter, Zaida, was diagnosed with peritoneal carcinomatosis, a rare type of cancer, when she turned 3. Now 9 years old, Zaida has been through various chemos and surgeries. Zaida had 22 months of remission in 2010, but relapsed in April 2012, and had surgery and radiation over the summer.
"I think the painkiller numbed her a little bit," Mattson said. "She doesn't remember much of what she went through."
"But I remember everything," Mattson said. "I remember her face just after the surgeries. I remember the long and painful recovery. I remember everything she has gone through."
Mattson said because Zaida's surgeries are performed in a Houston hospital, the family constantly needs to stay in the area for a month.
"We have been neglecting our yard," Mattson said. "What Gregg did for us made us extra-motivated to make some improvements in our home. The help they gave us put a fire under our feet."
The whole act of kindness was all inspired by an app, My Job Chart, which was created by Gregg Murset. He used the app to find families in need of help.
“It’s a free app that any family could use to assign chores to their children,” Murset said. "Nowadays, there is a lot of couch time, video games, and a lot of messing around. Parents know they fundamentally need to teach their kids a little bit better," Murset said.
Murset said the app would help children develop tough work ethics, teach them how to be responsible and how to give back.
"There are currently 725,000 members using the app," Murset said. "Children can earn points by doing chores. When they reach a certain amount of points, they can each get cash from their parents, or their parents can donate to charities."
Mattson said one of the toughest things for families fighting cancer is to take all the help they can get, and not feel guilty about it.
"Things will never be the same again," Mattson said. "We met so many amazing people because of the illness. People we wouldn't otherwise know. It takes crisis to find out how amazing people can be.”
Sierra Murset, Gregg Murset's 15-year-old daughter, said she doesn't regret the trip at all.
"I didn't know how it would be when we got started, but now I am really enjoying it," Sierra Murset said.
- Family & Relationships