Big Kindness: Stories to Inspire Compassion

February 2, 2017

Right now, with heated politics and the amplifying influences of social media and fake news, the world needs kindness more than ever. Being kind to our loved ones and the people who enrich our daily lives is a great place to begin, but what’s harder—and even more impactful—are acts of kindness that require a bigger stretch of selflessness. So while our leaders and the press take a defensive stance in the world, we’re looking for ways to take the offensive and spread kindness. Big kindness.

Buried beneath the headlines, we found inspiration that demonstrates exactly what we mean by big kindness and hope you find these stories as heartening as we do:

If a 6-Year Old Can…
When Dylan Siegel was in first grade, he learned that his friend, Jonah Pournazarian, had a rare and potentially lethal liver disease with no known cure. Dylan decided to raise money to find a cure.

His mother suggested a bake sale, but instead he wrote a book dedicated to Jonah and got his school to make copies. By the end of the first week, he sold enough to make $5,000, an astonishing business venture for a first grader. But Dylan had set his sights set on raising $1 million.

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Two years later, with the help of his parents and others, he surpassed that goal. With that money, doctors are now planning human trials for a gene therapy and saying, “We are on the verge or curing or treating this disease, and that would not have been possible if a 6-year-old boy hadn’t created this book.”

(Read the entire story—it’s worth it.)

The Kidney Domino Effect
At the age of 44, Rick Ruzzamenti had never even donated blood. But, after hearing about a woman who donated a kidney to help an ailing friend, he decided to see if he could donate his kidney to a stranger.

His action, the enormous generosity of one altruistic man, generated a domino chain that resulted in what the National Kidney Registry call Chain 124, an unprecedented 60 operations, linking 30 kidneys from 30 donors to people who needed one.

(Read more about Chain 124.) 

The Power of a Dinner Table
Kathy Fletcher and David Simpson adopted what’s become known as Thursday Night Dinner after their son invited a friend, who sometimes went to school hungry, home for dinner. Word spread from that friend to another, and soon kids were showing up for what’s described as “a diverse, weekly gathering that builds trust, breaks down barriers and establishes relationships rooted in love and high expectations and aimed at building the support networks our kids need to succeed.”

The community blossomed beyond the dinner table into a nonprofit organization called AOK, which stands for All Our Kids, that provides more comprehensive support to current AOK kids and many more who need it.

Even our smallest actions can reflect back to us like a mirror. So if an elementary school kid can raise over $1 million to help cure a disease, if a man can donate his kidney to a stranger and start a chain reaction, and if a couple can improve the lives of at-risk children by simply providing a place at the dinner table, what could you do to enact big kindness?