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Maddie Smiles: Family performs random acts of kindness in late teen’s honor

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Family and friends of an Indianapolis woman who died two years ago will be paying it forward Wednesday.

Family and friends of Maddie Ross will be performing random acts of kindness around the city in her honor.

Ross died from complications during gall bladder surgery on June 29, 2014. She was 19. Born with spina bifida, her family says she always had a smile on her face.

“She could make anybody smile,” said her mom, Paula Strauss. “She didn’t meet a stranger.”

Not long after she died, her family started Maddie Smiles and dedicated their time to helping others.

“Instead of being sad, we are trying to spread her smiles,” Strauss said.

Maddie Smiles, now a non-profit, has conducted a toy drive for Riley Hospital for Children, passed out care packages to homeless people and has raised more than $7,000 for the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund.

“It just warms your heart to know that people appreciate it and even want to learn about Maddie,” Maddie’s sister, Lacy Ross said.

On her two year “angelversary,” as her family calls it, members of Maddie Smiles will be handing out flowers to people, delivering popcorn and will be surprising police officers and firefighters with a treat Wednesday afternoon.

“When people smile and we touch somebody’s life, it’s truly worth it because she touched so many lives,” Strauss said.

They would love for you to participate in the day. They say it can be as simple as smiling at a stranger or opening the door for someone. If you do participate, they would love to hear about what you did on their Facebook page.