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Quest for kindness: Spokane family's story reminds us how fragile life can be

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

This Olympics we're showcasing achievement that isn't scored by a judge. It's measured by the impact people you might know - friends, neighbors, co-workers - are having on our community.  While the people we are profiling won't be found on any podium, they are just as deserving of our admiration. Tonight, we're introducing you to a Spokane family determined to spread a message, "kindness matters."

They are two words that are so simple, yet a concept that can somehow get so complicated. The family of Macie Kay-Lynn Zenishek hopes their sorrow will help change that.

"I think about her all the time," said Macie's grandma Paula Staschek. "She should be here. It's just so sad and heartbreaking."

It's a pain like no other. It's consuming. It's relentless. It's forever.

"I want to be happy for everyone, but it's just hard. It never goes away," she said. "Macie was 13-years-old when she left us."

It's been almost two years. The days, and sometimes weeks since, blur together. But the moment Paula got the news, is a memory burned into her soul.

"Words can kill," she said. "Bullying kills."

Macie was a typical teen in so many ways. All she wanted was acceptance.

"She was made fun of, she wore glasses," Paula said. "She was called four-eyes. She was left out. I remember vividly, several times, when she wouldn't get invited to the birthday parties."

Things went from bad to worse.

"She was beat up, her glasses were broken, her phone was broken," Paula said.

"She wanted to fit in so badly," her sister said. "She wanted others to love her like she loved them."

On March 22, 2016, the pain became too much. Macie took her own life.

"I wish I could have been there more for her," her sister said.

The family is speaking out now because they want things to change. They want people to realize that kindness matters.

"Of course we are anti-bullying," Paula said. "But we're also focused on spreading kindness. That's what this world is lacking."

They're now working with the City of Spokane to install a Bench in Macie's name in Harmon Park in Hillyard. The bench will have the words "kindness matters" in bold print.

"The more (kids playing) see that word, kindness, the better," Paula said We don't really want to stop here with the bench. We want to move forward."

Because if they save even one child from feeling how Macie did, every tear will be worth it.

"She's looking down on us right now. She's happy. Finally. But we had to lose her."

The family is asking anyone who sees this story to go out and do a random act of kindness in Macie's name.

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