Matt Smith was the most selfless person I’ve ever known. He was the first to offer a hand up to someone that needed it and would do so without hesitation. He would give someone his last dime and do it without fanfare or an expectation of praise. He often gave anonymously in simple ways, like buying a meal for a stranger, paying for someone’s groceries, or calling and paying a utility bill just to ease the everyday stresses of life.
When he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer in January 2018 at age 33, we were shattered. What happened next was truly amazing. Our entire community embraced us and made sure that we were ok. We experienced firsthand what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus, because we had people that were just that for us. Strangers banded together to ensure we were making it financially and took care of everything they could to ensure we didn’t have to worry about anything but getting him well.
After a brave battle, he lost his life to cancer in August 2019. He was 35 years young and left behind a 6 year old daughter and me, his wife of 7 years. One of his final wishes was that we take our something horrible and use it as a way to continue his legacy of giving.
Out of our grief was born this idea. What if, despite all the bad in the world and the pain in our hearts, we could really make a difference in the lives of others?
Matt had an impressive collection of flashlights. He loved them. He would come home with a new one and I would groan and he would say “but it has eleventy billion lumens!” and he and our daughter would run into the darkest room to try it out. After his death we found flashlights stuck in every drawer we opened. The idea was born.
To carry on his legacy we have created The Flashlight Foundation. We hope that, together with our community far and wide, we can be the light for others in the same dark space we found ourselves in. Matt believed that he could change the world by loving people and giving freely without fear of the future, and we believe that, too.
The Coronavirus has brought the world to a screeching halt, but it didn’t take away the needs that families struggling have. Please help us help people in these scary days ahead. Though originally intended to help cancer patients and their children, we are opening up to anyone in need at this time.
“Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”
– John 12:36
For more information and opportunities to help, follow our Facebook page @TheFlashlightFoundationBeTheLight
To nominate families that need help during these trying economic times, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together we can make a big difference and offer hope in a dark world 🔦