The family of one of four University of Idaho students killed in a stabbing attack last fall wanted to find a way to celebrate her birthday by remembering the joy she brought others, not the grief created by her absence.
And so earlier this month Madison Mogen’s family announced the creation of Maddie May Day, urging people to commit random acts of kindness in Mogen’s memory every May 25.
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The idea soon spread across social media sites, and sure enough, Maddie May Day hashtags and happy stories of people doing good deeds began trickling in on Thursday: A donation to military-focused charity made in Mogen’s name. A planter with pink flowers (Mogen’s favorite color), and a sign about the day dropped off for display at a northern Idaho coffee shop. A granddaughter who brought a surprise bouquet to her grandmother at work. Donuts and other treats purchased for colleagues.
“There is not a monetary movement, there is no requirement to be anywhere or do anything specific,” the Mogen family wrote on the MaddieMayDay.com website. “It’s beautiful in its simplicity. And yet it’s effective and powerful.”
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Mogen was killed on Nov. 13, 2022, at a home near the University of Idaho campus along with her friends Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin. Bryan Kohberger, a former Ph.D student studying criminology at nearby Washington State University, was arrested several weeks later and charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths.
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“We were just so lucky to have her in our life for the time that we did,” Ben Mogen, Maddie’s father said. “This has been the most difficult thing that any of us will ever go through, and it’s just important to stay close to your loved ones and your family in times like this. I would say and remember her in the best way that we can.”