If you're in a mid-week slump and hating on your life, you should grab some Kleenex and prepare yourself to feel all the feelings: Last week, a six-week-old baby girl died in a Cincinnati children's hospital. Before she passed away, her dad got a picture of her. She was all hooked up to medical tubes in the picture, though, and so the father took to the internet: he asked his fellow Redditors to Photoshop a picture of his baby without tubes so that he'd have at least one nice image of her. And guess what: they did.
The response was truly overwhelming. Since Nathen Steffel posted his request on Reddit four days ago, he's had literally hundreds of replies. People uploaded version after version of his daughter's picture. Those who couldn't use Photoshop sketched a drawing, or painted one. Certain artists went a step further, not only taking out the tubes, but even adding the backdrop of a park, or a sky. Some offered to mail him their work. Some offered links to services, others even offered money. Some shared their own experiences of loss. All gave him consolation.
"I'm very sorry... My son is 9 months old and I couldn't sleep without at least trying," said one Redditor."I feel for you friend. My wife and I lost our first child, but we ended up going on to have three healthy daughters. You never forget though. Hang in there!" said another."I recently had a daughter. I can't even begin to imagine your pain. You have my deepest condolences," said a third.
According to a post Steffel wrote on Reddit, his daughter, Sophia, had hepatic hemangioma in her liver. She'd been on the waiting list to get a new liver, but because of complications, she passed away last week, at the age of only six weeks. She'd only ever been in a hospital. Which is why getting the tubes photoshopped out meant so much to Steffel.
"This is really amazing. Everyone you have made my day. All I wanted was a nice picture. What I received was a lot of love and support from a bunch of strangers. A long with a lot of great photos, drawings and paintings. Thanks everyone!" he wrote in a response on Reddit.
He told Buzzfeed that he was up till the early hours of the morning responding to the condolences of his fellow Redditors. “At first there was so many responses I couldn’t even keep up reading them.I stayed up until 3am that night trying to respond to everyone who had seemed to have a similar experience,” he said. “It helped knowing that others cared enough to stop whatever they were doing in their own lives to either send me a picture or just their condolences."
"We have so many nice pictures now. We are going to hang up a few of our favourite photos and drawings," Steffel told Buzzfeed.
So, yes, it feels like there are constant reasons to lose faith in humanity. There's the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, there's that whole Hobby Lobby fiasco, there's some pretty upsetting (fake) democrats out there. But then this sort of thing happens and it's just —just —excuse me a moment, will you? I've, er, got something in my eye.