Melissa Jacobs is living proof that kindness begets kindness.
After her husband passed away suddenly in 2015, the Coldstream woman and her family received an an outpouring of support from the community, and she wanted to pay it forward.
For the past two years, she’s been doing just that through a charity she founded called Inspire Kindness Productions. In that time, she’s worked with Okanagan families facing all kinds of hardships.
The latest is the Trombleys.
This past fall, Michelle Trombley noticed her daughter, Poppy, was walking with a limp, which escalated to the point where she could no longer walk and the pain was unbearable. Four-year-old Poppy was taken for an MRI in Kelowna before being sent to the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
The family was there for the better part of October. After weeks of testing it was found that Poppy had Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), a rare immune disease and form of cancer that’s difficult to treat.
Poppy has regained a lot of her mobility after a largely successful biopsy, but the challenges ahead for the Trombley family are many.
“The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster,” Trombley said. “Sometimes she’s really good and other times she’s not. Some days she can walk a lot, some days she can’t walk.
When Jacobs heard about the family’s story through an Inspire Kindness application by Trombley’s stepfather, she wanted to help — and had a means to do so.
Two weeks prior, a minivan was donated to Inspire Kindness by Coldstream residents Matt and Angie Tumlinson.
“They had this 2012 Dodge Caravan and they wanted to give it away but weren’t sure how to do it,” said Jacobs, who conversely knew exactly what to do with such a donation.
The minivan was given to the Trombleys on Saturday, Dec. 21, at Capri Insurance in Lake Country. The van will help them travel all in one vehicle as they make numerous drives to the Children’s Hospital in the coming months.
Trombley was overwhelmed when she first heard about the van donation, and at first her thoughts went beyond her own family’s challenges.
“I started crying,” she said. “We’re obviously going to make such good use out of it but I just think of all the other people who have needs too and I was very, very surprised.”
For Jacobs, whose decision to start a charity began with a personal tragedy, helping others in need has become its own reward.
“It really was the kindness from the community that helped lift my spirits and my kids and lifted us up from that grief, and so to be able to keep doing this over and over again to so many families, it helps me so much,” Jacobs said.
Right from the start, the Trombleys were looking ahead to when they’ll be able to pass the kindness they’ve received forward.
The first thing (my husband) said to me was ‘wow, I really hope we can do something and bless someone like that one day,’” Trombley said.
For now, the priority is getting Poppy the care she needs towards a remission of her symptoms, which will be that much easier with one less travel concern to worry about.
For more information or to support Inspire Kindness Productions, visit inspirekindnessproductions.com.