Opinion | It’s important not to lose the light in the dark

With the pandemic and other massive, nation-wide issues, it’s important not to lose sight of the good we can do for ourselves and others.


Ayrton Breckenridge

A University of Iowa Cambus, at the intersection of West Iowa Avenue and South Riverside Drive on Nov. 18, has a wave decal on top of the bus to wave to kids when it drives by Stead Family’s Children Hospital.

Ally Pronina, Opinions Columnist

The season of giving is among us. Despite the chaos and darkness, the world is currently in, the Iowa City community has managed to find a light in the tunnel through kindness.

Five Cambuses have installed the wave on their rooftops as a way of showing support towards pediatric cancer patients at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Being a cancer patient is even more difficult during COVID-19.

Some cancer patients must decide between continuing treatment and exposure to the virus. They also are at a greater risk of being negatively impacted by the virus due to weakened immune systems and treatments lowering the number of white blood cells.

The University of Iowa Department of Transportation brought much needed joy and strength to people who currently have it worse than most.

Another local act of kindness was done by a professor from the University of Iowa Department of Communications. Elizabeth Pearce offered, quite sincerely, to drop off Thanksgiving dinners to anyone who can’t go home.

It’s heartbreaking not being able to spend Thanksgiving with family. Those dinners were so much more than a dinner to students who received them.

All these stories are a reminder, even on possibly the worst Thanksgiving ever, there is always something to be thankful for. They remind us, even if we can’t be with our loved ones, there are always going to be people who care about you.

The random acts of kindness expand outside Iowa City.

After a suicide attempt, Hannah Lucas created a NotOK app to help others struggling with mental illness. This app helps pre-selected contacts know the person needs help.

A study by the Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services showed in June 2020, there was a 47 percent national increase in suicide hotline calls, with some crisis hotlines experiencing a 300 percent increase.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the COVID-19 pandemic can cause loneliness, stress, anxiety, fear, and sadness. It can also worsen mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Lucas’ app helps people struggling with their mental health communicate the need for help during times when they need a hand the most. Admitting you need help, especially for something such as suicidal thoughts, is not easy. Making it so all it takes is pushing a button makes it easier.

Lucas’ act of kindness has the potential to save many lives. While these examples are all wonderful, kindness does not have to make the news to be powerful. My colleague, Signe Nettum, wrote a piece about helping humanitarian organizations right now.

COVID-19 has negatively impacted small businesses. We should show kindness by supporting them.

Christmas, for me, is Jesus’s birthday. I believe He made an extraordinary act of kindness-sacrificing His life so everyone, even His enemies, can be forgiven for their sins. I want to make His sacrifice worth it by showering others with kindness.

Kindness means caring about and doing whatever we can to help others. We can all make a difference — regardless of external or internal characteristics — through kindness.

As many Christmas classics show, we can always help those who have it worse than us — a message the pandemic has made relevant. There’s no better Christmas present than kindness.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:


University Counseling Service | The University of Iowa

(319) 335-7294

CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank:

Crisis Phone | Chat | Text – CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank

(855)-325-4296 – Call

741-741 – Text

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.