Our beloved and beautiful friend AIDAN DUVER died Wednesday, May 24th, at just 18 years old.
Our hearts are broken, especially for his family, friends and mom Amy who is our Office & Program Manager. We will miss Aidan every single day.
It is very hard to believe it has been almost two years since we first learned the news of Aidan's cancer diagnosis in August of 2021. Aidan truly lived every minute of these last years, passionately and courageously, continuing to share his incredible gifts with us.
Already an Ambassador since starring in our professional run of "IT'S EASY!" in 2017, Aidan was peer-elected to be Chair of our Teen Kindness Board in August of 2022. He was integral in guiding the programming of our "kids for kids" (as he called it) organization. Aidan was admired by his peers for his calm and caring leadership that will continue to inspire us all for the rest of our lives.
Aidan gifted the BAFP his golden voice and amicable personality to do voice-over narration for our "sizzle reels" and perform in our showcases, even traveling with us (taking us LIVE on Instagram) to Washington DC last November where together we presented our mission through words and song to an audience of 1,000 at the 20th Anniversary Gala of the NGLCC. In the midst of apparent chemo, radiation and surgical treatments, he did not hide away from the spotlight. Aidan took the stage regardless, just 17 years old, because he believed he could still make a difference and change the world with kindness - and he did - as he put it, "make the world a little bit brighter," especially for bullied kids, for whom he had great empathy.
In his college essay titled "Living Through The Impossible" about the day he found out he had cancer, Aidan wrote "I’ve learned that kindness and love are so powerful. Just a smile exchanged with someone on the elevator lightens the load a little."
A Dobbs Ferry High School senior, Aidan was only weeks away from graduation, and he was also in the process of choosing whether to attend Tisch NYU for Musical Theater or Ithaca College for Acting. We were so lucky to have been a part of his theatrical debut at 12-years-old and watch his great talent reveal itself over the years.
Aidan last moderated a quarterly virtual meeting with our national Teen Kindness Board just a short 2 months ago. Up until 2 weeks ago, he continued to plan his initiative, the Be A Friend Walkathon coming up on June 3rd "walking towards a kinder world." On May 15th, he texted me "...As you know from the very beginning, of when I threw out the idea of this project, that I am very passionate about it ... I would like to attend the walkathon and sponsor some folks and motivate people to join ... it’ll be great!"
And we will all make sure it will. The breadth of Aidan's legacy with the Be A Friend Project will continue to be told and integrated in our "friend strong" story past, present and future. We have videos and pictures and events he initiated yet to unfold.
Most of all, we will remind ourselves that the pain and sorrow we feel at Aidan's loss is directly equal to the depth of the love we shared, and we will grieve proudly.
We love you, Aidan. Thank you for everything...