Even amidst tragedy, kindness and love can shine through—that’s the message from this story from CBC News in New Brunswick, Canada, where Becca Schofield, a teen with terminal brain cancer, started a campaign encouraging people to perform good deeds and share them on social media.
Riverview teen Becca Schofield, who has terminal brain cancer, said it is the acts of kindness she sees every day that keep her going.
The 18-year-old and her #BeccaToldMeTo campaign, that asks people to perform good deeds and share them on social media, will be celebrated with the first annual Becca Schofield Day, proclaimed by the New Brunswick legislature in the Spring.
Schofield said knowing that the third Saturday of September has been set aside as a day to be kind to each other means a lot.
“To know that I get this day and it’s not just my day, it’s a day to celebrate the people that we can be and the people that we should be — it just warms my heart to know that we have a day like that where we can come together as a community.”
Schofield said seeing people share their random acts of kindness online is something she looks forward to every day, but especially on bad days.
“I love hearing those stories, I crave them, they’re what keep me going.”
‘I can’t control the fact that I’m dying’
Schofield said inspiring people to be good to one another has awakened a “special joy” and a “special zest for life” in her.
“When I used to see videos … people doing great things I would think, ‘That’s awesome, I wish I could do stuff like that.’ and that’s really how the hashtag started. I was too tired to be able to go out and help on my own so it was more of a request to everyone.”
Schofield said seeing people take up the challenge has helped her to take her mother’s advice, and to focus on the parts of her life that she can control, and let the rest go.
“I can’t control the fact that I have cancer. I can’t control the fact that I’m dying,” she said.
“But I can control the fact that I’m not going to be bitter about it … it’s not fair but I can control my emotions, I can control doing what makes me happy and living the life that I want to live with the time that I have.”
Schofield said having a day named in her honour has made her reflect on the legacy of Terry Fox.
“The fact that he did what he did in the face of his illness — that’s part of what’s kept me strong through mine. That’s part of what motivated me and I’m so proud to be a fellow Canadian,” she said.
“To know that I’m making an impact anything remotely like that is life-changing. I can’t explain how good it feels.”
Kindness is taught
Schofield credits her parents with teaching her to be kind, and hopes that it becomes a habit for everyone.
“When you’re thinking of yourself above others … you can get into a place where it just becomes to easy to be so bitter and selfish and just focus on yourself,” she said.
“Kindness is a behaviour that is taught … just taking five seconds out of your day and smiling at someone — that’s being kind.”
Schofield knows what it is like to be mad at the world but said it is her family that pulls her out of those moments.
“Being sad isn’t going to cure me, being rude isn’t going to cure me, being unkind isn’t going to cure me.”
She particularly likes seeing elementary school students taking up the kindness challenge and developing the habit of doing nice things for others as a regular part of every day.
“That’s just the most heartwarming feeling to know that you’re shaping these children’s lives — for the better.”
She said sharing those good deeds on social media isn’t something everyone is comfortable with, but she believes it is critical to her mission.
“People still are afraid of sharing what they do to make others happy because they don’t want to brag but it’s not bragging, it’s demonstrating how you can improve the world around you and I love stories like that.”
“No matter how you go about being kind — all of it that I hear about, it warms my heart.”
Celebrations for Becca Schofield Day will take place at the Riverview Arts Centre on Saturday.