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Posted: 3:18 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tyler Perry helps sick teen's struggling family

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Tyler Perry
NBC NewsWire / Getty Images
TODAY -- Pictured: Tyler Perry appears on NBC News' "Today" show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

By Veronica Waters

Tyler Perry does it again, this time for a family in need in Stockbridge.

The movie mogul is perhaps best known for his popular, wise-cracking character Madea, whose lovable advice includes such gems as, "The grass is always greener on the other side, but the water bill is higher."

Perry is also known for something else:  his philanthropy. Yet for all his generosity, he is not one to always trumpet the times when he reaches out to help. 

This week, Perry stepped in after seeing the news story of a struggling family of five.  Xernna Nieves has been unemployed for two years, and struggles to pay rent on time as her 16-year-old son struggles with aplastic anemia.  Medical bills mounted after her son's second bone marrow transplant.  Nieves says the apartment complex had been very understanding in the past with allowing her to pay back rent. 

Unfortunately, that was not the case recently.  The family had recently returned from a Make-A-Wish trip.  When Nieves went to pay rent for March and April, she was told that the corporate office had directed the local management not to accept any more payments from her, and an eviction was scheduled for today.  After hearing the story, Perry offered to pay the family's rent for one year, and the management accepted the offer.

Channel 2 Action News' Jade Hernandez says Perry told her by phone that he had ducked into a back door at the rental office to avoid the TV cameras out front.  The mother he helped was overcome with emotion, and tears flowed down her face.

"He didn't have to come in person and pay it," she said, sniffling.  "That's what makes it--that's what makes it special."

Perry's many charitable donations include replacing the stolen van of a Decatur woman with cerebral palsy; donating $1 million for Haitian earthquake relief; building a neighborhood of homes after Hurricane Katrina; and sending a group of Philadelphia teens on a Disney vacation after a swim club canceled their pool privileges.

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