Over the rainbow: Remembering Olivia Lynch

[Originally published here at TheTab.com on December 3, 2015]

Students throughout the THON and Penn State community gathered at the HUB Lawn gazebo on the night of December 3rd, 2015 to mourn the loss of Olivia Lynch.

Olivia passed away on Tuesday night after battling brain cancer for more than a year.

Olivia Lynch was just like any other five-year-old girl – she enjoyed pedicures, playing games with her siblings and spending time with her family.

She was also, like other little girls, drawn to rainbows. In more ways than one, Olivia was like a rainbow: she was vibrant, unique, and could bring a smile to the face of everyone she encountered.

Her mother, Kelly Lynch, updated the Caring Bridge page with the following:

“The battle is over. Now is her time to play again. And until we meet again, I am going to do my very best to live the rest of my life as full as absolutely possible, knowing that she is with us…just not in a physical body.

“I pray that she comes to me in my dreams too or that she comes to you and you share them with me. And I plan to find Olivia in the flowers that bloom, and in the sun that sets.

“Find her in the birds that chirp, and in the smiles of people passing. Find her in music and in laughter. And of course…find her in the rainbows.

“Please know that we don’t need a thing and instead continue to ask you to find the joy in life. Find the kindness in each other. BE the kindness.”

Olivia will be sorely missed and it was abundantly apparent just how much of an impact she made on the lives of many.

For such a short time here, the legacy she has left is greater than many adults could even hope to leave behind.

“In just five years she touched so many lives and was such an inspiration to so many people,” said Kristen Van Tilburg, member of Apollo. “She taught us to never give up.”

Students stood together and chose to remember Olivia as the brave, fun-loving girl that she was rather than the illness that inhabited her.

“Cancer did not beat Olivia,” said Derek Viscusi, Family Relations Chair for Apollo Benefitting THON. “At every step of the way, no matter what her and her family were going through or what obstacles they had to get over, they were always positive.”

The positivity that radiated from Olivia is something we can all learn from. In the face of an illness that constantly threatened to tear her down, she smiled. So, the Lynch family is asking in lieu of flowers and donations, friends and loved ones of Olivia honor her life by partaking in random acts of kindness.

“Kindness toward others is what Olivia would have wanted. Let’s honor her. Join her family by also planting something colorful in your own garden at home. She loved colors, especially rainbows,” her obituary read.

The Facebook page “25 Days of Love for Livvy” dedicated to 25 days of random acts for the little girl who cared so much about helping others continues to encourage everyone to live out Olivia’s legacy and make the world a little better.

Rest in peace, Livvy. One day we will dance in celebration. Until then we dance for a cure.

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