A New Brunswick teenager who inspired people around the world to perform random acts of kindness has been honoured posthumously with the Order of New Brunswick, and remembered as someone who encouraged people to dream big.
Becca Schofield died in February at the age of 18 – two years after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Her movement on social media, with the hashtag #BeccaToldMeTo, quickly went viral and inspired ongoing acts of compassion and generosity around the world.
“Today shows you what a simple act can leave such a big legacy. We are proud and honoured beyond words,” Anne Schofield said Tuesday as she held the Order of New Brunswick medal presented to her and her husband Darren on behalf of their daughter.
Her eyes welled with tears as she spoke of the pride she had in what her daughter had accomplished.
“The group of people that she has been honoured with – you look at their resumes and it’s lifelong commitments that they have done – and there’s this little girl and all she wanted to do was spread a little bit of kindness. She said it’s so simple – just be nice,” Schofield said.
Becca Schofield was one of 11 recipients of the award this year, presented by Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau and Premier Blaine Higgs.
“What an inspiration she has left for her community and her family. Her life, although very, very short had an impact that other people take a lifetime to achieve or try to achieve,” Higgs said.
Roy Vienneau said Schofield and all the recipients had made New Brunswick a better place.
“See how this day, this moment can be used to move your own agendas forward to help others, and to help make New Brunswick better. I believe Becca would have wanted that,” she said.
Anne Schofield said she hears from people every day about how Becca affected the lives of others.
She said people have reported their acts of kindness in 94 countries, and while she never expected the movement to get that large, Becca knew that it would.
“When we mentioned to her, ‘Did you think this would be so big?’ She said ‘Mom and Dad your problem is you don’t dream big enough. Of course it’s going to go big.”‘
The Order of New Brunswick was established in 2000 to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of excellence and achievement in their particular field.
Other 2018 recipients were Judy Astle from Boiestown for sportsmanship and leadership; Charles Bernard from Balmoral for community involvement; Roberta Dugas from Caraquet for leadership in nursing; Louise Imbeault from Moncton for contributions to Acadian media and communications; Gaetan Lanteigne from Tracadie for economic development; Walter Learning from Fredericton for his achievements in the performing arts; James Lockyer from Moncton for volunteerism and contributions to the legal profession; Eileen Wallace from Fredericton for her impact on children’s literacy; and Ed and Eke van Oorschot from Black River for their commitment to protecting vulnerable people.