ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The holiday season can be difficult for families who are missing a loved one. A complete stranger stepped up to help one family in particular, who tragically lost their little girl back in 2017. 

Three-year-old Regan Shetsky’s spirit is still living on through a Christmas ornament drive, where hundreds of ornaments are collected and donated to local hospitals. 

“It’s hard when you are entrenched in the grief that you have when your child dies to think of things like this, like the bigger picture,” said Kelly Shetsky, Regan’s mom. 

A complete stranger, Kelly Rodoski, approached the Shetsky’s about hosting an ornament drive. 

“And I said what do you think? This is kind of what I do, at a personal level. Do you think this is something that could work for Regan’s Acts of Kindness?” Rodoski said.

On each ornament, there’s a kindness card telling people who Regan was, and bringing the focus of the holiday season back to what’s really all about. 

“We really lose sight of the fact that the spirit of the season can sometimes be perfectly encapsulated in a very random act of kindness,” Rodoski said. 

And for Shetsky, it’s a chance to see Regan’s love shine through others.

“She just was smiley, and so we think of kindness as something that makes people smile and so we wanted to start it because we wanted to spread her smile and her joy to them,” Shetsky said.

Every season, Shetsky does something to honor Regan. Each event is powerful, but difficult. The ornaments bringing her back to Regan’s favorite time: Christmas.

“It’s amazing to me because they’re really getting into it. I think it’s a fun, heart-warming thing to do this time of year, and they know they’re doing it in honor of our little girl,” Shetsky said. 

The ornament drive ends this Friday evening. The Shetskys are asking for store-bought ornaments that a child or adult would love. They’ll be delivering those gifts St. Joseph’s Hospital and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital next week. 

Drop off locations:

  • Aspen Athletic Club: All locations 
  • Cafe Kubal: James Street, Syracuse 
  • Syracuse Fire Dept. Credit Union: Wilkinson Street 
  • Big Mike’s Service Center: Morgan Road, Liverpool
  • Purcells Paints: Bridge Street, East Syracuse 
  • East Area YMCA: Towne Drive, Fayetteville

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