Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 26 February |
Saint of the Day: St. Paula of St. Joseph Calasanz
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Every year, this is how a mom honors her late baby

Ashley Santi Good Deed

Shhwaggy_T | Twitter | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 01/10/18

Through the MISS Foundation's Kindness Project, families are finding healing.

In our sometimes self-obsessed world, a little dose of kindness goes a long way. Yet, when that thoughtful gesture comes from families trying to honor their loved ones who’ve passed away, it makes us realize the real bravery of coping with pain. This recently came to light when it was discovered that Ashley Santi had paid for a young girl’s birthday cake on what would have been her own daughter’s 10th birthday.

Santi, from Arizona, first heard about The MISS Foundation’s Kindness Project from a support group when her own 9-month-old daughter, McKenna, tragically died from a brain trauma after a television fell on her, back in 2008. The foundation encourages grieving families to carry out these acts as a means to “honor their deceased child and to help themselves heal.”

When her daughter died, the then-24-year-old mom wanted to honor her so, as she explained to Today: “I started doing random acts of kindness here and there, but then her birthday came, and I wanted to do something extra special.” That something special started seven years ago and is still going strong today.

Every December 27, which was her daughter’s birthday, Santi goes to a bakery to purchase a birthday cake — preferably a child’s — that had been ordered but was waiting to be picked up and paid for. She leaves a card explaining her act of kindness and wishing the birthday child an enjoyable day. Santi said: “For her birthday, the littlest thing I can do is pay for a cake for another family since I can’t do it myself, for my child,” adding “It’s the way we mother our children or father our children.”

This year, the Jauregui family discovered the cake for their 11-year-old daughter, Madison, had been paid for by a complete stranger. Madison’s brother, Kyle, posted a picture of his little sister with the cake and the handwritten card from Santi on Twitter. He shared how the family “were left pretty speechless. We felt a lot of love, and we felt really blessed.” And according to Kyle, Madison “felt like she had a guardian angel looking over her,” adding “She felt a little extra love on her birthday.”

The family managed to track down Santi, who prefers to remain anonymous, and are planning to meet up. In what must be a bittersweet moment, Santi will get to meet Madison who is just one year older than McKenna would be if she were still alive today. Santi is “excited” at the prospect of meeting the Jaureguis and says: “They seem like such an awesome family.”

The Jaureguis are keen to “spread the positivity” of this generous act. And as for Santi, she has become a volunteer for the foundation, who’ve encouraged more than two million families to carry out an act of kindness in the name of their beloved lost ones.


Read more:
Teenage boys’ kindness to a homeless man is captured on CCTV

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
J-P Mauro
A song to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines
V. M. Traverso
The 9 oldest images of Mary
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
Bret Thoman, OFS
Padre Pio says this is a sin that’s difficult to forgive &#...
Palm Sunday
Philip Kosloski
10 Lenten traditions you might see at Mass
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.