N.S. community 'pays it forward' to honour girl, 5, who died

A grieving Nova Scotia couple is amazed at the outpouring of support from their community -- and beyond -- after an obituary for their five-year-old daughter expressed a wish that people “pay it forward.

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Carmen Faith Huskilson, of Shelburne, N.S., died earlier this month from pneumonia. She had suffered from a diaphragmatic hernia since birth.

The obituary noted that Carmen “defied all the odds” by living much longer than expected, even managing to attend school.

“She was a little princess,” mother Jennie Huskilson told CTV Atlantic. “She loved to dress up, she loved to play with her princess doll. She loved to just be a little girl.”

The obituary thanked all the people who had helped Carmen along the way, noted how she liked to help people, and asked the community “pay it forward in her name.”

Father Andrew Huskilson said he was expecting people to perhaps shovel neighbours’ driveways or buy strangers coffees.

Instead, a local pharmacy paid the bill of every customer who walked into the business after Huskilson’s funeral on Friday.

Then a local pizza shop vowed to donate all sales and tips from a single day.

And a Facebook page was set up where even strangers began listing how they had decided to be kind.

A waitress in West Pubnico, N.S., wrote that she had paid for a meal for a couple and asked them to pay it forward too.

And a woman from Dallas, Tex., said she would “pay it forward” at the Texas Woman's University coffee bar on Tuesday.

Another wrote that she would be “baking and delivering sweet treats” to “random business, strangers and friends” while her wood-worker husband had decided to build a table for a local after-school program.

Meanwhile, a fund set up in Carmen’s name has grown beyond the Huskilson’s expectation. They say plan to donate some to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, while putting the rest aside to “pay it forward” in their own community.

With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko



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