St. Jude Family Getting Creative for 8 Acts of Kindness Campaign Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
St. Jude parents Leticia and Enrique are facing an imposing obstacle in trying to keep their daughter's memory alive this year. For years they've invited friends, family and everyone to do eight random acts of kindness on April 8, Arianna's birthday. She died just a few days before that in 2014, and one of her last acts showed her true spirit.
The hashtag #8actsofkindness is where you'll find the social movement spreading in 2020, but it started on April 8, 2015, a day that would have been Arianna's ninth birthday. The little girl died of cancer, but even while receiving treatment at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., she showed tremendous compassion.
"In waiting rooms, if there was a kid who was playing by themselves, Arianna was going to go play with that kid,” Leticia says in a story on the St. Jude Inspire blog. "If there was someone who was crying, Arianna would want to know why she was crying and how to fix it. And if a volunteer was handing out crafts, Anna wanted to help out and hand out or to organize them for her."
Knowing she may not make it to April 8 that year, the family held her final birthday party one week early, but Arianna fell ill and had to go to bed. Later the little girl learned that her family had decided to put the party piñata aside for when she felt well enough to break it.
"She started crying," her father Enrique says. "When we asked her why, she said, ‘Well, my friends didn’t get to break my piñata because of me.’ We always tell that story because it shows how kind she was."
But how do you spread kindness when the most kind thing to do is stay home and isolate? You have to get creative, Arianna's parents say. Maybe it's helping an elderly neighbor with yard work or giving blood. Maybe something can be done digitally that carries forward the spirit of the day. People have posted to Arianna's event page from all over the world in recent years, something the family says is tremendously helpful during what could be a very sad anniversary.
"Selfishly, it is for us," Leticia says. "Her sister, Alivia, loves it. She loves it. Because we come home on the evening of Arianna's birthday and just sit there and read about all the amazing things that have gone on around the country, and on the other side of the world.”
Every year, Taste of Country assists more than a dozen country radio stations in raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with a webathon/radiothon. Nearly $11.4 million has been raised during the previous five joint efforts, with much more raised from other TSM stations later in the year. If you'd like to donate, check here for various options.
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