Kayla, a senior at Middlesex High School, shared her empowering and life-changing experience about a simple act of kindness and an enduring friendship. In her essay, submitted during our EMPOWER Kindness campaign, Kayla, 17, shared how her best friend Danny lived life in a wheelchair and suffered from a disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and he was constantly taunted and harassed by boys at school because of his disability. She explained that although Danny was a happy kid despite his disease, the bullying began to diminish his self-confidence. Kayla and her friends took it upon themselves to befriend him the day they saw him being bullied and tried to do whatever they could to build up Danny’s confidence. They became best friends and saw Danny’s self-confidence thrive. During their sophomore year, Danny’s heart became weaker, and he tragically passed away. There isn’t a day that goes by that Kayla isn’t thankful for befriending Danny, and she knows that she helped him to live his last few years of life to the fullest.
Kayla explained in her essay, “My friends and I were able to take Danny under our wing to give him the life he deserved. Now we live by saying ‘Make Every Day Count’ in honor of Danny. This saying means that you shouldn’t let the negative people get to you. Nobody deserves to feel left out.”
For showing kindness in her community and her school, Kayla was recognized by our practice on February 28, International Stand Up to Bullying Day, as our EMPOWER Kindness Ambassador. She was also presented with a $1,000 scholarship that she can put toward her education. We look forward to seeing how Kayla and others continue to EMPOWER Kindness in our community in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.