Mack’s Day of Kindness
Support a local business. Share an inspiring quote. Tell someone a joke to brighten his/her day. Penn State students performed these small, yet meaningful, random acts of kindness Wednesday on what would have been John William McKenzie Brady’s ninth birthday. John, more commonly known as Mack, was Schreyer Honors College Dean Christian Brady’s son, who died on New Year’s Eve from a rare blood infection.
Brady released a statement on New Year’s to inform others of the tragic event: “Words cannot begin to express the deep, wrenching sorrow that our family feels at the sudden and unexpected death of our boy. He contracted a blood infection on Sunday and by last night had returned to God. He was a special treasure, a true blessing sent from God.”
Following the release of the statement, the Schreyer Honors College Student Council organized “Mack’s Day of Kindness” for his birthday. “We had a lot of students come forward saying they wanted to do something and help,” said Erin Platz, president of the student council. “Even though the students did not know Mack at all—I did not know him either—we are very close to Dean Brady. He really makes an effort to get to know all of the students in the Honors College.”
Random acts of kindness were written on slips of paper and tacked on boards in Atherton and Simmons halls. Students were encouraged to pass by either hall and take a slip of paper to complete throughout the day. (Click on the photos for a closer look.)
At 5:30, students and faculty were invited back to the Atherton Hall lobby to write a message for the Brady family on luminaria bags, which were lit up by fake candles and placed in the Atherton courtyard. The Schreyer Honors College Student Council hopes to make “Mack’s Day of Kindness” an annual event to help the Brady family through what will be a difficult day.
The Schreyer Honors College Student Council created a Facebook event and the hashtag #MacksDayofKindness, which was used on Twitter throughout the day. One example from Twitter user Anthony Shelton: “Just thanked anonymously a great member of our @penn_state faculty for all that she’s done for our community. #WeAre #MacksDayofKindness.”
Mack was a huge soccer fan, which led the Brady family to establish a scholarship in Mack’s honor. The scholarship will benefit a member of the Penn State men’s soccer team.
Brady, his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter, Isabel, stopped by Atherton Hall during the event. They were grateful to all of the students in remembering their son and were touched by what the students made possible.
Kimberly Valarezo, intern