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8-Year-Old Girl's Death Inspires Acts of Kindness Movement

Maddy's Mighty Minions/Facebook

The Short of It

Eight-year-old Maddy Grayless was diagnosed with bone cancer June 2 and died June 16. In her honor, people have been performing thousands of good deeds.

The Lowdown

Even before her cancer diagnosis, Maddy was an inspiring little girl, who was always thinking of others.

"A lot of the memories that her friends' mothers shared with me...were about how she was the only one who was nice when someone was having a bad day, or how she would be friends with everyone, and include people on the playground who were sitting alone," her mom Jessica told Today Parents. "One little boy in her class, his favorite memory was the day that she got between him and a bully. She was a little girl, but she was pretty feisty. She had this very acute sense of injustice and unfairness, and she couldn't stand to see people get hurt. She was always a defender of the underdog."

When they found out the little girl was only given weeks to live, members of her church group began performing acts of kindness in her honor. They called themselves Maddy's Mighty Minions, and they created a Facebook page and used the hashtag #MaddysMightyMinions to encourage others to do the same.

Soon people—not just friends and family but people all over the world—were posting their good deeds. Today, the Facebook page has over 15,000 members.

"We were able to show her, while she was still [healthy] enough to watch, what people are doing with her name," said Jessica. "It was a help during that time, because it helped her to know that wish wasn't going to be unfulfilled."

And the acts of kindness didn't just benefit Maddy, but also many others.

"There was a person who paid for groceries behind them," said her dad Brian. "And that person paid for the groceries behind them. No big deal, right? But that person whose groceries were paid for was a lady whose husband was sick and really needed that blessing. And that, to me, is what these pay-it-forward things are really about."

The Upshot

While unfortunately Maddy didn't live a long life, she lived one that truly touched and inspired others. She should inspire all of us to think of others and to stand up for the underdog whenever we can. She also shows us that we have as much to learn from our kids as they have to learn from us.

Rest in peace, Maddy.

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