Jan White said her 41-year-old daughter, Summer White Lynch, wears her heart on her sleeve and has spent her life loving people and trying to get them to love her back.
Now her daughter's battle with cancer has inspired White to ask others to spread that love around.
Contact information ( * required )
White said her daughter, who lives in Bloomingdale with her husband and two young sons, has breast cancer. She has undergone multiple surgeries, but the cancer has spread to other parts of her body, including her bones and liver.
Last week, the family learned little else can be done for Summer, but White said they still are hoping for a miracle.
When people asked what they could do to help, White gave them an unexpected answer.
"I said, 'You know what you could do? You could do something for a random stranger in the name of my daughter. And that would just really mean something while she's alive, not after she (has) passed," White said.
That week, White said, the family got a visit from Bloomingdale Village President Franco Coladipietro, who proclaimed June 6 "Pay It Forward Day" in Bloomingdale.
The proclamation asked residents to do good deeds for others.
"But any day is a good day to do something kind for someone else," said White, who lives in Indianapolis.
Summer grew up in Indianapolis, and White said she makes friends everywhere she goes.
"She's so busy giving, she doesn't sometimes take enough for herself," White said. "She's always worrying about everybody else. Even through this cancer, she's worrying about me, she's worrying about the kids, she's worrying about her husband -- she's worrying about everybody."
Some people have posted notices about their random acts of kindness on the event's Facebook page, which is called "Keep Calm and Summer On" Random Act of Kindness Day #KCASORAOK. These acts included paying for someone's else's gasoline and paying for a stranger's lunch. In one entry, children gave flowers to a crossing guard.
The campaign is getting international attention as well. In one case, White said, she learned someone in Japan left $10 and a bag of Tootsie Pops in a park.
People who do random acts of kindness can give a card to the beneficiaries explaining the act has been done on behalf of Summer White Lynch. The cards are available through the event's Facebook page.
Participants also can email their experiences to White, and she said she will use them to create a book.
Coladipietro said he met Summer through Trustee Frank Bucaro, who is her neighbor. He said paying it forward does not necessarily mean one's good deed has to involve money; it could be calling someone and telling them you miss and love them.
"What I hope comes out of this (initiative) is that we celebrate Summer and the positive influence that she has, and the wonderful spirit that she has and how inspirational and uplifting she is in what is a very difficult time for her, and how she helps us to realize the many blessings that we have," Bucaro said.
For White, the initiative is a way to find some light in the darkness.
"I keep thinking we're gonna wake up, and it's a bad dream," she said, "but I don't think that's going to happen. So we're trying to make something good come out of something that is sad."