An effort is underway to launch a movement of people performing small random acts of kindness for others, generating something positive out of the recent death of a four-year-old Glace Bay girl.
Jaycee Tracey, the daughter of Allison Kendall and Carter Tracey, died from a sudden illness, meningococcal septicemia, last month.
Kendall describes Jaycee as a kind-hearted, generous and joyful little girl.
“She was a very sweet and kind little girl, she would do anything for anyone,” she said. “My little girl was an amazing little girl.”
The entire community has been extremely supportive since Jaycee’s death, Kendall said.
“The community support has been outrageous, tremendous, the whole town came out to pay their respects to my little girl.”
To honour Jaycee’s memory, some of Kendall’s friends and softball teammates came up with the idea of launching Jay It Forward — a movement encouraging people to perform acts of kindness for others.
“Jay It Forward is to commemorate Jaycee, do a good deed to keep her spirit alive,” Kendall said, adding she also wants to raise awareness about meningococcal septicemia.
Tara Smith, one of the people behind Jay It Forward, said they are an extremely close-knit group of friends and wanted to help Kendall as she dealt with the grief of losing her daughter.
“We all cared so much for Jaycee ourselves that we wanted to do something uplifting and really memorialize her in the way that she lived,” Smith said. “She was such an inspiring, upbeat, happy little girl. You’d see her at the ballfield, she had pink lipstick on but at the same time she was digging in the dirt and she made everybody smile.
“I think that was the big thing — we wanted to do something that would make people smile … It makes sure that, even though she’s not here, acts being done in her name help her live on. She isn’t here, necessarily, but her book isn’t finished being written.”
Those good deeds can run the gamut from simply holding a door open for someone to offering a compliment to paying for a stranger’s coffee.
“A lot of times these small acts, you don’t know how it’s going to change someone’s day,” Smith said.
The initiative will officially launch with the Glace Bay women’s softball league opening tournament, a league in which Kendall plays. At a ceremony opening the tournament Saturday, movement cards will be distributed. The tournament also will be held in memory of Jaycee, with a couple of her friends throwing out the opening pitch.
The ceremony for the #JayItForward introduction will take place at the South Street Ballfield on Seaview Street in Glace Bay, at 1 p.m. The opening ceremony will also honour other loved ones who have recently died, Kendall added.
She hopes for a large turnout, especially of children, as there will be many children's activities. Funds raised will go to meningococcal research.
Anyone who recounts an act of kindness that they’ve performed in Jaycee’s memory is asked to use the hashtag #JayItForward so that they can track where it goes.
“I hope it’s carried on every year, I hope that eventually it goes worldwide,” Kendall said, adding she’s touched that people want to remember her daughter in this way.
“We can see how far around the world it makes it and how many smiles are made from that little girl’s memory,” Smith said.
There are also talks to name the ballfield in Jaycee’s memory. Kendall noted many of the children’s facilities at the park underwent major improvements last year, including installation of a new playground and splashpad, making it a popular and happy place for local children to play.