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How Simple Acts of Kindness Can Help Families With Sick Children

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This is Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 11-18), serving as an important reminder of the value of being kind to one another. Being kind is of course important — or should be — to everyone, all the time. But kindness is especially meaningful to those parenting sick children. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that gets us through the day.

We have learned a great deal about kindness over the year of parenting our child with the rare disease, dyskeratosis congenita. We have found a community of patients and parents, through DC Outreach, who so kindly let us into their hearts.

A simple act of kindness can change the course of a day, week or month. An entire life can be forever changed because one person was kind toward another.

In our world of medical fragility and uncertainty, acts of kindness — random and planned — are like messages from a higher force telling us “we’ve got your back.”

Kindness can come from big things like holding fundraising benefits to help cover medical costs or traveling to visit and help care for a loved one. Simple things like sending care packages and bringing hot drinks to cold hospital rooms put some comfort into our long days.

The “I see you” look from other parents, after-hours calls from reassuring doctors and nurses who stay up all night with you. These are acts of kindness that make this isolated world seem a little less lonely. We are far from alone in this struggle.

And the ultimate act of kindness can come from someone we don’t even know and may never get to meet: organ donors. The moment I saw those hanging bags full of healthy bone marrow was the instant I truly understood the selfless act behind saving the life of my child. That was when I most deeply understood the meaning of kindness.

And that is also when I adopted my new motto: Life is short. Be kind. I challenge myself every day to remember that our time here is limited and we never know when it will end. Filling every day with kindness is a great way to ensure that our time here is meaningfully lived.

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Originally published: February 14, 2018
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