One the most surprising, rewarding and life-changing events since we’ve opened our doors was meeting a local girl, Gabby Devine who bravely battled cancer. We are dedicated to giving a percentage of our rooms nights to local charities, and offered these to the Little Fighters Trust.
The Little Fighters invited Gabby, her mom and dad and a few of her friends for a sleep-over originally. We put the call out and our friends dropped off plush pink robes, packs of activities for the girls to do, a local restaurant offered to have them for dinner and they had their makeup done.
I was so very nervous, way more nervous than for any bride to arrive to meet Gabby and ensure her night was perfect (and anyone who knows me, knows how seriously I take brides arriving at the House.) Gabby quickly put me at ease, and even brought gifts. One of these is a sweet white ceramic angel that graces our breakfast lounge.
We were so blessed to get to know Gabby and her family a wee bit and to welcome them again. I knew that Gabby was ill, but didn’t know the extent, so when I heard that she lost her valiant battle with cancer, I was and still am, truly gutted and distraught at the loss of this amazing girl.
Gabby was not only a sweet, beautiful young girl but she was wise and generous beyond her age and in spite of being very sick. She created her own charity Starlit Hope to provide boredom boxes and Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs) to children in New Zealand’s children’s hospital, Starship, and our local children’s ward. Her acts of kindness extended throughout our country and little community, even providing gifts for mom’s whose children were in the hospital on mother’s day.
The community has taken on Gabby’s charge since her passing, and has continued on with RAKs in her honor. I was treated to such a gorgeous gift last week.
I have been personally struggling recently with something stupid and time wasting as my weight and body image. We are heading to the beach in a few weeks, and even though I’m working out a lot and trying to watch what I eat, the bikini is still terrifying. I was having a really bad day, and craving a piece of something decadent. I kept telling myself that I am healthy, and relatively in good shape and should celebrate the strength of my thighs, not the size….but it wasn’t working, i was having an awful day.
It was almost dinner time, and Rodney walks in with a beautiful box, and sweet card. My very own RAK – a gorgeous, amazing carrot cake. My favorite! My mood brightened instantly, and I laughed while enjoying every morsel knowing that Gabby would be laughing at me – grinning in my kitchen eating cake. She’d tell me to smile more. This act of kindness reminded me to put things in perspective, enjoy gorgeous simple things in life, like a great piece of cake, and to celebrate.
I passed along some of this kindness to volunteers at work – and just know that RAKs are truly a gift from Gabby, and god.