Honouring a lifetime of kindness

September 07, 2023

Education alum Heidi Schlumpf and her family.

On Sept. 8, Western Education will amplify a call to action that asks people to open their hearts in honour of a mother of four who died the way she lived — spreading kindness.

That date marks what would’ve been Education alum Heidi Schlumpf’s 36th birthday. Heidi died in August 2022 after being diagnosed with triple-negative metastatic breast cancer.

Prior to her death, Heidi worked tirelessly to raise money for triple-negative metastatic breast cancer research through a fundraising campaign that has since garnered more than $170,000.

The outpouring of support all began with a simple request. Heidi was diagnosed with her cancer in April 2021 and later received her treatment schedule, which included an appointment on her birthday — Sept. 8.

Looking for a way to keep her spirits up while she spent her birthday in hospital, Heidi put out a call asking people to carry out an act of kindness and share it on social media using the hashtag #PutAKindDeedInYourFeed.

Sadly, Heidi wouldn’t get to see the second edition of #PutAKindDeedInYourFeed, but after her death, her legacy grew even stronger as the fundraising campaign attached to the hashtag went on to raise more than $100,000 in 2022.

“To see so many people honour Heidi in that way, we were just really happy, but we weren’t surprised. Heidi is absolutely beloved in her community,” said Heather Rielly, a close friend who continues the fundraising efforts alongside Heidi’s family and friends.

She and Heidi first met while in their undergrad at Wilfred Laurier University and later shared an apartment when they began their Bachelor of Education degree at Western Education. The two remained close friends as they navigated life as new teachers, and then as new mothers.

“Heidi was the best mom and always had great advice and perspective. She made everyone feel like they were her best friend,” Rielly said.

“Whether it was stranger, an acquaintance, a colleague or a friend, I think everyone who knew Heidi thought the world of her.”

#PutAKindInYourFeed now has its own Instagram account, which highlights acts of kindness and shares quotes from Heidi, which are referred to as “lessons learned by Heidi.” On top of promoting the campaign, the account also helps in Heidi’s goal to set an example for her four kids.

“The idea was that her children can look back on this Instagram account and see all these people who did something kind in the name of their mom,” Rielly added.

Beyond spreading kindness, Heidi also dedicated the last chapter of her life to establishing an important fundraising campaign.

“The thing that was so hard for Heidi to wrap her head around was that for people like her, who didn’t find out they had cancer until Stage Four, there aren’t a lot of options,” Rielly said.

“The idea that this money is going directly to London Health Sciences Centre, directly to the people who are researching ways to provide more options for people in Heidi’s shoes, that’s what’s really exciting.”

Those looking to donate to Heidi’s Hope Fundraiser can make a contribution online via London Health Sciences Foundation’s website.

You can also participate by sharing an act of kindness on social media using the hashtag #PutAKindDeedInYourFeed. Those acts of kindness will also be shared on the campaign’s Instagram account @putakinddeedinyourfeed.

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