MU students go above and beyond for one campus employee

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COLUMBIA - A group of University of Missouri students exceeded everybody's expectations in gift giving this holiday season, and the generosity didn't stop there. 

Sandy Cunningham works at Plaza 900, a campus dining hall. She's worked there for 11 years, and students throughout the years say she consistently brightens their day, so they wanted to give her a Christmas present.

Freshman Chase O'Neal started a GoFundMe page to raise money so he and his peers could buy Sandy a Christmas present. The group's original goal was $500 to buy Sandy some gift cards to spend on herself and her family this Christmas.

"We thought $500 was a lot at the time. We thought, it's going to be hard to get $500; maybe we can get it before break, hopefully. We thought we were going to have to put up fliers," O'Neal said.

Within a half hour of its creation, the donation page already surpassed the $500 goal. In four days, the campaign raised more than $5,500. More than 600 people donated, and more than 8,400 shared the link on social media.

Sandy said she could not accept this generous act, and immediately decided to pay it forward, donating the money to the Children's Miracle Network.

"I am still in shock. These kids are so wonderful," said Cunningham. "I just saw this as an opportunity to help other kids."

Sandy and the group of students said they hope the overwhelming support and attention will only inspire others to give back.