On Wednesday, September 4, 2013, just ten short days ago, a beautiful and giving Erie teen with Epilepsy tragically died after suffering a seizure in the shower. I’m from Erie, and I have been awed and inspired by the acts of kindness seen throughout my hometown and across the world in memory of this young woman.
If you’re wondering, the “#AJO” stands for Alyssa Josephine O’Neill. Alyssa is a 2013 graduate of McDowell High School. I graduated from McDowell in 2000. Alyssa was also a McDowell cheerleader…as was I during my freshman and sophomore years…and so, I feel compelled to “pay it forward” in her honor, like many many others.
The day before Alyssa died, she told her parents that she was excited to try out her very first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. Many of us book lovers know exactly what this cup of deliciousness tastes like. It’s an Autumn phenomenon. It’s something we pair with an excellent book, a warm sweater and a pair of high boots.
Sadly, Alyssa never got to try one. However, her father, Jason O’Neill, purchased a pumpkin spice latte at an Erie Starbucks in honor of his daughter, and then purchased 40 more for the following customers.
Over the next several days, this pay it forward campaign made its way all over the world and it has been reported that thousands of dollars have been spent within my Erie hometown alone. Many are paying it forward with not only the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, but with donut boxes, free dinners and more.
Ever since I started my blog, I have come to realize how embracing and helpful book bloggers and writers are. So here’s my quest to you, my fellow readers. Let’s do something within our incredible cyber book world and continue this #AJO movement by paying it forward.
Here are a few ways you and I can contribute to the #AJO movement:
When you go out to a bookstore and grab a cup of coffee or maybe even a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, pay it forward for the next guy. Buy an extra and ask that the business write #AJO on the cup and give to the next ordering customer. Better yet, check out your fellow blogger friends wish lists, and buy them a book with #AJO on the inside. If you can, Instagram a pick of yourself paying it forward and post it on twitter.
And then, share your picture on your own blog and see if you too can keep this movement of selflessness going. There’s a lot of evil in the world today, but ONE act of kindness can make all the difference. Let’s work together to make the change and spread the message of love. Show Alyssa’s family that their act of kindness and love for their daughter can change the world.
Are you with me? Let’s do this. Updates to come! Share your acts of kindness in the comments below.
You can search #AJO to learn more about Epilepsy
and the pay it forward campaign.