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Family wants to start a ripple effect of kindness on May 18

Blais family turning grief into random acts of kindness in memory of their deceased loved one
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Francine Blais wears a RAK t-shirt that she had made for this year’s Random Act of Kindness in Memory of Stephane Blais

In 2021, during the midst of the pandemic the Blais family declared May 18 as Random Acts of Kindness Day (RAK) in memory of their late son/brother Stephane Blais. 

The family announced his sudden passing in May 2010 after a fatal accident. 

For 10 years, the family held annual mud runs to raise money for the Brain Injury Association in his memory, but when the pandemic put an end to their gatherings, they decided to remember him in a different way. 

“He was the kindest kid. He loved everyone, and everyone loved him,” said Francine Blais, Stephane’s mother. 

Francine said their family decided with all the distance and isolation caused by the pandemic the world could use a little more kindness. 

With only a week to plan, the family partnered with Papaya Pops, a local popsicle shop in Chelmsford, to hand out free popsicles. This year, with more time to plan, around 15 local businesses have joined the Blais family in conducting random acts of kindness this May 18. For a list of the businesses, you can visit their Facebook page.

“For the first time, I never thought I’d say, I am excited for May 18. To see all the random acts of kindness all in honour of my son,” said Blais.

The family decided this year they were going to go bigger and decided to make RAK cards to hand out to people. The cards read, “If you have received this card do an act of kindness, initial the back of this card and pass it on to that person.”

The family has been receiving requests for RAK cards all over Ontario and has been mailing them to places like Oshawa, Mississauga, and many more. 

Francine hopes one day the cards will make it back to her and she will be able to see all the people who have initiated the cards. 

To thank everyone for their efforts and joining in on their random acts of kindness the family has put together a basket of lottery tickets for a raffle prize. More details on how to enter the draw can be found of their Facebook page. They will deliver the basket to the winner together as a family once a winner is drawn. 

The Blais Family encourages people to join them this May 18 to find creative ways to show someone a little bit of kindness, and maybe they will too. 

Annie Duncan is a journalism student at Loyalist College. She is on a work placement at Sudbury.com.