RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – At this traditional time of giving, one Richmond family is asking the community to do good deeds in honor of their young daughter, who lost her battle with cancer this April.
The response to the story of Abbie Waters has been incredible. Her family has received thousands of emails and our viewers have flooded our Facebook page with notes about your own acts of kindness.
For many families, Christmas morning is filled with the sounds of wrapping paper tearing and squeals of delight from kids getting exactly what they wanted. It was that way for Abbie Waters' family for years. On their first Christmas without her, your good deeds will get them through.
To know Abbie Waters was to love her.
"Everybody really had just a piece of their heart that they gave to Abbie," explained her young friend Max Murphy.
She had an infectious smile, an open heart and a knack for doing good deeds. Abbie was a model to anyone who crossed her path.
"She taught us more in her nine years than we learned in all our lifetimes before we had her," her mother Mary Ann told us.
Tragically, parents Mary Ann and Jeff didn't have her for long. Abbie was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer. While the first treatment went well, Abbie relapsed and passed away shortly after her ninth birthday.
On the first Christmas since Abbie died, she'll have a larger stocking than most kids ever dream of. It isn't filled with presents but emails listing random acts of kindness perfect strangers have done in her honor.
"It's just the kind of thing she would have liked because she always wanted to help everybody else out," Jeff said.
On Christmas Eve day, Abbie's "peeps," the friends who helped her fight against cancer, are once again assisting a family through something most people won't see in a lifetime. Waters said that's another tribute to Abbie's heart of gold.
"She just loved people," Mary Ann said. "The thing she liked the most was when people were nice to each other."
An inbox full of notes details good deeds, including people letting another go first in line or donating to charity. This is how an angel is inspiring a community.
"I think she is loving it and I think that makes her here," Waters said. "I think she's here with us and that's how she's showing us she's here with 'oh mommy you thought you were going to get like twenty emails. Sorry 2,000!'"
That number continues to grow.
If you want to send an email about a kind gesture you've done, the address is AbbieWaters@aol.com