By Katherine Long, Editor
Giggles and squeals filled the sunny autumn morning Nov. 8 as students at Holy Cross School in DeWitt clambered to the top of a new piece of playground equipment dedicated in memory of Regan Shetsky.
The pinky-purple, green, and blue three-legged “flux capacitor” was unveiled and blessed at the school this morning, the latest effort of Regan’s Acts of Kindness.
Regan’s Acts of Kindness is an initiative spearheaded by Kelly and Mark Shetsky, launched in memory of their three-year-old daughter, Regan, who was killed in January when she was hit by a car in the parking lot of her nursery school.
A friend of the Shetskys, the mother of Regan’s best friend at nursery school, came up with the idea of Regan’s Acts of Kindness, Kelly told the Sun in an email before the dedication.
“Honestly, we didn’t think it would take off as much as it has,” she said. “We are constantly in awe of all the nice things people are doing for each other.”
An Act of Kindness “can be whatever a person wants it to be,” Kelly explained. “Some people have paid other people’s bills at restaurants or left gift cards for the next customer. Children have placed bubbles at playgrounds, distributed goodie bags to other children, and surprised their bus drivers with thank-you gifts. We started a Kindness Rocks campaign we’re calling ‘Regan Rocks,’ and people are painting and hiding rocks all over the country.” (You can check out and share Acts of Kindness at facebook.com/RegansActsofKindness.)
Additionally, Kelly and Mark choose bigger Acts of Kindness projects. “We simply want to spread Regan’s joy and happiness,” Kelly said. “We created Regan’s Corner at The Wild Animal Park in Chittenango, which has a 12-foot-tall giraffe and benches carved with her handwriting and owls wearing Regan’s signature bows.” They also hosted Regan’s Outdoor Movie Night at Le Moyne College in June and planted a memorial garden in Syracuse’s Sedgwick neighborhood.
The new flux capacitor is also one of those bigger Acts, and one with a special connection to the family. “We chose Holy Cross School because Regan’s brother Gavin is in second grade there and Regan was supposed to start pre-K this year,” Kelly said. “The Holy Cross community and [former Holy Cross Church Pastor] Reverend Monsignor J. Robert Yeazel (recently retired) wrapped us in their supportive arms when Regan died. They gave us the strength to continue each day.”
Kelly described her daughter as “spunky, funny, and really smart. She brought joy to so many people in her short time here. Her death leaves a gaping hole in the lives of everyone who knew her.”
The family chose to install a piece of playground equipment “because Regan would have absolutely loved it,” Kelly said.
“Regan would have been so excited to see the playground piece and she would have run to it and climbed to the top in five seconds. She was a very good climber, even in a dress and sandals.”
Mark agreed: “She would smile and say how pretty it is. She was such a good climber and would have had a lot of fun on it.”
Big brother Gavin said, “My sister would like the colors. Pink was her favorite, turquoise is my mom’s, and green is mine.”
Gavin and his second-grade classmates were the first to climb aboard the flux capacitor following the blessing by Bishop Robert J. Cunningham.
Having scaled a purple orb, Ashlynn declared the new piece “really fun,” and both she and Victoria gave the new equipment their thumbs-up.
Asked about the role faith has played in her family’s life over the last 10 months, Kelly said, “When something like this happens, it’s natural to question everything. How could our baby girl be taken from us so senselessly? It’s been excruciatingly difficult to wrap our heads around it. Having faith that there’s more to life than what we experience here on Earth is helping me cope. We know Regan is in heaven — we never question that. The very least we can do is carry on her name, her joy, and her kindness. Until we meet again.”
Be a part of an Act of Kindness this Christmas and donate ornaments to be gifted to babies born at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center. Drop off new, unwrapped children’s ornaments at the following locations during business hours through Nov. 22:
Aspen Athletic Club, 3440 W. Genesee St., Fairmount
Café Kubal, 3501 James St., Syracuse
Big Mike’s Service Center, 7459 Morgan Rd., Liverpool
East Area Family YMCA, 200 Towne Dr., Fayetteville
Contact Kelly Rodoski at email@example.com or (315) 218-7162 with questions.