For her 34th birthday, Heidi Schlumpf wanted to see more kindness in the world, and a viral hashtag helped her see that. Though she passed away before her next birthday, her family is keeping the kindness tradition alive.
Heidi, a mother of four young children from Listowel, was diagnosed with triple negative metastatic breast cancer (TNMBC) in April 2021. As a birthday celebration, Heidi used social media to encourage people to perform a random act of kindness, naming it ‘put a kind deed in your feed.’
With assistance from social media influencers, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the effort of the community, the hashtag went viral. Van Dyke said that coverage reached from North America to Europe and Australia and saw thousands of posts.
In conversation with StratfordToday, Schlumpf’s brother Tyler Van Dyke explained what made the campaign so special for his sister and others around the world.
“It's really a reflection of who she is. This is what she wanted for her birthday...all of her birthdays … that's the kind of person she is.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Schlumpf’s birthday, people are being asked to continue the tradition - a random act of kindness, to share it on social media with the hashtag #putakinddeedinyourfeed, and tag the putakinddeedinyourfeed account in the post.
Last year, Schlumpf also raised close to $100,000 for the Heidi’s Hope Foundation, a fund for TNMBC research through the London Health Sciences Centre. While she didn’t live to see that goal met, the fund has since achieved that milestone and surpassed it.
Van Dyke said there is no end goal when it comes to financing research – not until TNMBC is cured. Donations are still open and contributions go towards a specific fund at the London Health Sciences Centre.
Van Dyk said the true goal of this campaign is to spread kindness one step at a time.
“This is a simple ask. It doesn't have to be big and doesn't have to be flashy. Doesn't have to be for someone you know, it could be for someone that you don't know.
“The ultimate goal should be that every single human does something nice for people on this day. Probably pretty tough, but it's certainly possible. There's no goal for monetary gain …it's really just about spreading kindness.
Schlumpf passed away on Aug. 10, sooner and more sudden than her family expected. Through the help of friends, family, and the worldwide community, Van Dyke and others hope that #putakinddeedinyourfeed can be around for many more birthdays to come.