Jaden’s smile

If you want to measure the impact of one radiant smile, consider the story of Jaden Ann Scrivener.

A 16-year old so brightly lit from within that she lifted the mood of entire classrooms just by walking into them, Jaden died in a car accident on the last day of June this year. Three days later and 3,500 miles away, a baby was born at the Ray of Hope Medical Mission in Uganda. They named her Jaden Ann.

And that was just the beginning of Jaden’s legacy.

In the midst of their unfathomable grief, Jaden’s mother Julie, father Dean and younger sister Ella, generously suggested that those mourning Jaden might donate to the clinic at which the family had volunteered. From around the world, people responded.

To date, Jaden’s friends and family have raised $28,000 with more coming in every day, including proceeds from an upcoming mask and T-shirt sale. The funds benefit the Ray of Hope Medical Mission, a maternity center that helps mothers give birth to healthy babies and provides a sanctuary for babies born with conditions that need additional medical care or evacuation. The center now features the Jaden Ann Nursery, a perfect tribute to a renown hugger who loved to wrap her arms around babies, friends, teachers, coaches, family members and dogs.

In addition to a legacy of love, Jaden left journals full of writings and doodles that describe her faith journey and intentions to maximize each day. She wrote “Live a life worthy of this calling you have received,” which has become a rallying cry for those who mourn her. #LLJ, live like Jaden, has been trending from Spain, where Jaden lived with her family, across the world to right here in Appleton, her mother’s hometown.

The girl who loved flowers also has been memorialized by a sea of sunflowers, some planted, some photographed, painted, tattooed, jeweled, printed, drawn and doodled.

Like those flowers, which stretch tall from some unlikely places, Jaden’s legacy of kindness, laughter, love, faith, hope and beauty also will continue to grow in worthy tribute to a young girl whose bright light lives on.

In just 16 years, Jaden made an impact on the earth more profound than many of us will achieve in lifetimes six times as long.

I know I intend to rise to Jaden’s doodled challenge to live a life worthy of the calling I’ve received.

To donate to the Jaden Scrivener Memorial Fund, please click here.

In most of her pictures, Jaden has her arms around people and/or puppies.
In one of her most recent photos, Jaden posed in a field of sunflowers. Now people the world over are honoring her by planting, painting, photographing, printing and tattooing them in her honor.
Baby Jaden Ann born in Uganda on July 3.
The Scriveners traveled all over the world. Here is the very athletic Jaden posing in front of a Norwegian Fjord.
The Scrivener family on La Palma in the Canary Islands.
Jaden and her sister Ella volunteered at a clinic in Uganda. Today, the Ray of Hope Medical Mission has the Jaden Ann Nursery.
Jaden, her smile, those flowers, the Live Like Jaden hashtag and an American sports hero, Christian Yelich.

17 thoughts on “Jaden’s smile

  1. Such a beautiful and inspiring article about an even more beautiful and inspiring human.

  2. Absolutely beautiful tribute. I have enjoyed watching Jaden grow up through Facebook posts since we last lived nearlr each other in Island Creek. It was meant to be that her family were able to fit all that family travel together in such a short time. This enabled Jaden to live an entire life that someone would live, in just her short years. She really did get to experience life to its fullest because of her family. For this, I am so grateful. I know we will all comtinue to live life to the fullest like Jaden. I know she is shining down from above, happy that she is making a positive change in many peoples lives.

    1. Her parents have shown their family the world and I hope that’s a comfort to them all as they navigate through this terrible time. Isn’t it amazing how one young soul can positive influence and inspire so many of us?

  3. My heart remains broken, on your behalf. I think of you all often and I sincerely appreciate sharing your memories of your beautiful Jayden!

  4. Such a beautiful tribute- I pray for Gods strength everyday- such a beautiful girl

    Dawn Anderson

    1. I admire you all and am so sorry for what you are going through. You have raised two incredible daughters and it was my privilege to write about Jaden.

  5. I’m not surprised at all the beautiful things this beautiful daughter left on the world. Having never met her, I had the pleasure of being a flight attendant with her mom before she was born. Her mom is the most beautiful and helpful person.
    God Bless you all, always in my prayers.

  6. What a beautiful girl inside and out! I met her once with her sister, Ella at school in Alexandria, VA. I am Ava Stuart’s grandmother, Frankie. My heart aches for you and Jaden has left a beautiful legacy.
    Thank you for posting. Frankie Stuart Jorgensen

  7. A beautiful tribute to Jaden Ann. A lovely family with so much to be proud of. The Scriveners have touched many hearts in their travels and Jaden and Ella have been at the center of this mission. Nicely done…

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