New Jersey Dad Launches Viral 'Kindness Challenge' To Honor Son He Lost To Suicide At 17

A New Jersey dad has launched the Kindness Challenge in honor of his son. Dylan Vassallo was only 17 when he took his own life in 2015. His dad, Dennis Vassallo, was inspired to set up the challenge as a way to cope with the loss but it has since grown into a movement with over 27,000 members.

According to WDEF, Dylan was a selfless kid who volunteered to several organizations. He also served as an altar boy for eight years at St. Benedict's of Holmdel.

When the family lost him nearly two years ago, his parents felt a huge void. "For a long time, way over a year we really weren't able to do much other than care for our other two children," the father said, according to Fox 29. "It was a struggle every day, just dealing with the day."

One day during meditation, however, Dennis was enlightened to do something in honor of his son. That's when he thought of the Kindness Challenge as inspired by Dylan's selfless service for others.

Dennis set up the Facebook group for the Kindness Challenge in January. "What simple kind things could we all do for the betterment of our world, society and ultimately our souls?" Dennis wrote in the group's profile. "The thought came, what if we had a kindness challenge? Not to raise money or funds, but to raise awareness and lift up each other and our hearts."

The father was expecting to get a response from around 75 people but was surprised to receive 650 requests overnight, which has now ballooned to 27,155 as of press time. The group's members share their kind deeds like donating blood or giving a homeless person money for food. The group is basically a testimony of uplifting and inspiring stories.

"I wake up every morning and look at these posts," the father said. The Vassallos still mourn Dylan's passing but his legacy lives on these posts from strangers. "I'm going to try to honor him as best I can," Dennis said.

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