Turning grief into good

Why one family is choosing to complete 11 random acts of kindness

Minot, ND - The death of a friend or family member can spark emotions of all sorts.

For one family, they're taking the sadness of losing someone near and dear to them to make others feel good, in the same way that they felt when they were with that person.

That person was Natalie Olson.

She lived for only 10 years with cerebral palsy that kept her from walking and talking.

But that didn't keep her from truly living her best life, as she spent her days doing the things she enjoyed like horseback riding, sled hockey, and spending time with her loving family.

Now, in her memory, family members want her aura to live on.

"We always lose people. Sometimes we lose some of the best ones and I think it's a great way to honor them," Brittany Miller said.

She's talking about her niece Natalie, who passed away last January.

In honor of what would be her eleventh birthday, Miller and her family want to spread joy just like she did.

"We donated to some people like her speech teachers and all that at Hoeven. And we donated to the hippotherapy," Miller's nine-year-old daughter, Stella, said.

"My dad picked up the neighbors leaves, we gave tickets to the train at the Roosevelt Zoo, we gave toys away," six-year-old Harper said.

Those are just a few of the 11 acts of kindness they want to achieve this month.

"You know, we've been trying to think of things that Natalie would have enjoyed because she didn't walk or talk," Miller said."

"She didn't enjoy things the way other kids did, but she liked those special things like cuddles and hearing her cousins."

"She always loved it when we gave things for other people because she was one of those kids that was in the hospital," Stella said.

Miller said, "Some of the things we're giving or doing are more money based or item based. But it's the spirit of it that I think rings true to Natalie."

One family member described Natalie as 'a cheerful girl with a sunny disposition.'

That assessment is exactly why her family members are choosing to convey the things that Natalie no longer can.

Stella said, "I just love seeing people's smiles on faces."

"She only put good out into the world and it's just carrying that on for her," said Miller.

Those little things, just like they did for Natalie, can go a long way.

The Millers hope that everyone can take the time to do something kind for someone else.

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