Spreading the love: Acts of random kindness grow on 2-year anniversary of Charlie Capalbo's death

Loved ones spent the day spreading kindness, just as Charlie Capalbo was known for.

Marissa Alter

Apr 25, 2024, 1:49 AM

Updated 17 days ago

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April 24 is a day that holds a lot of heartbreak and hard memories for family and friends of Fairfield’s Charlie Capalbo.
Two years ago on that day, he died after battling multiple bouts of leukemia and lymphoma. It happened one month before his 24th birthday.
“It would be easy to just stay in bed all day and want the day to just pass away,” said Peyton Siegel, Charlie Capalbo’s girlfriend who was with him at the time.
Instead, loved ones spent the day spreading kindness, just as Charlie Capalbo was known for.
“It keeps his memory alive, and it makes us feel good to give somebody else a smile because that's what Charlie was all about. He was all about smiling and making other people smile,” explained his mom, Jenny Capalbo.
Charlie Capalbo was first diagnosed with cancer in March 2017 as he was finishing up his high school senior varsity hockey season as goalie. Over the next five years, he beat cancer three times before it returned a fourth and final time. Throughout his fight, Charlie Capalbo inspired the community and the hockey world, locally and beyond.
“While he was going through everything he was going through, he was still always thinking about other people. He had a really kind heart,” Jill Bodach told News 12. “A year ago, I wanted to do something to honor the one year of his passing, and I reached out to his family, and I was like, ‘Hey, what if we just do random acts of kindness and we, you know, share Charlie’s story with people and see what kind of response we get.’”
The response was overwhelming, according to Bodach, with people taking part across the country. She made up small cards for them to leave behind with each act of kindness. One side has the words “Live like Charlie” and what’s become an iconic picture of him on the ice. The other side says, “This act of kindness has been done in memory of Chalie Capalbo. Live like Charlie. Love like Charlie. Be kind. Pass it on.”
Bodach has sent out tons of cards over the last few weeks.
“This year, it's actually gotten a lot bigger, and I'm really excited that we're able to do this again,” she said.
Bodach told News 12 her kids brought flowers to their teachers and bus driver as part of the kindness campaign Wednesday. Other acts she heard about included paying for someone’s coffee or meal, giving flowers to waitresses at a busy diner and donating to an animal shelter.
Charlie Capalbo’s parents and girlfriend decided to return to Boston Children’s Hospital to spread kindness.
“This is the place where Charlie spent a lot of his time, got his medical care, and he actually passed away here, so it's extra meaningful. There are so many people here at the hospital that are going through long battles,” said Jenny Capalbo, getting emotional.
“And obviously, we know what that is like, and we remember all the kind things that were done for us,” continued her husband, Anthony Capalbo.
Posts on social media show how the effort even spread to strangers. Tanner’s Endless Love, an animal rescue based in Delaware, shared that it received a donation in Charlie Capalbo’s memory. The post included the “Live like Charlie” card and some words about his life.
“We don't really know how many people we're reaching, which is kind of cool, you know? It's just this ripple effect,” Bodach explained.
The owner of Soris.Dough, a bakery in New Hampshire, made cinnamon rolls and delivered them to local first responders as her act of kindness. Sarah Soristo told News 12 she never met Charlie Capalbo but was on the receiving end of an act of kindness in his memory one year ago at Boston Children’s Hospital. Soristo was there while her son had heart surgery. She said while in the lobby, she was given a Starbucks gift card, along with the card explaining the reason behind it. Soristo posted on her business’s Facebook page that she made a promise to herself back then to honor Charlie Capalbo one year later and pay it forward. She told News 12 she felt compelled to share his story.
To learn more about Charlie Capalbo and the nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research, click here.


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