TOLEDO, Ohio — The Fifth Annual Kindness Rally was held at Hensville Park on Sunday to honor 14-year-old Luken Boyle and promote kindness.
On this date in 2017, Luken, a student at Blessed Sacrament in west Toledo who was planning to attend Central Catholic High School, took his own life after being bullied online.
The event was organized by the Luken T. Boyle Campaign for Kindness.
Luken's mother, Samantha Boyle, started the campaign. She said it is not just for remembering Luken, but it also serves a greater cause.
"It's really just a day to honor Luken and his legacy and to raise awareness and bring people together and really talk about what kindness means on a deeper level, more intentional kindness," said Boyle.
The event was once again held at the downtown Toledo park after two years of being held virtually due to the pandemic.
The Kindness Rally is followed by a Toledo Mud Hen's Baseball game that happens to fall on the day Luken passed away.
"It's just gotten bigger and better. There's more bounce houses here, there's more games," said Samantha. "We have the same speakers, but really just a lot more for the kids to do."
Students who came to the event were joined by the University of Toledo Rockets football team, as well as musician Max Boyle.
Samantha says Luken was always a positive person to family, friends and anyone in the room.
Blake Moody was one of the student's who showed up at the event. Moody had some kind words to share himself.
"I try to stick up for people, I always try to comfort the most people, [and] I try to help them to do the best throughout the day even when they're down," said Moody. "If I see someone down, I try to lift them up."
Luken's mother knows how important it is to show support to kids. She said all it takes is one cruel act to push someone to the point of suicide, because at that age everything can feel like the end of the world.
She also said Luken would be happy knowing the event happened, and she knew his presence was there.
"He would love this, he would be really proud. I'm sure. I hope so. And I know he's with us because we've had good weather every year," said Boyle.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self harm, reach out to the new suicide prevention hotline 9-8-8.