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Over a period of 8 days almost one year ago, thousands came together to search for missing University of Cincinnati student Brogan Dulle. Dulle had told his friends on May 18th, 2014 that he had misplaced his cellphone and was going outside to retrace his steps. He never returned. Eight days later, the 21-year-old was found dead in a building not far from his apartment building. He had committed suicide.
This year, in celebration of his life, Brogan’s family hopes to turn the focus of those eight days from darkness to light. The family has launched a campaign called ‘8 Days of Greatness.’
"It really was a rough eight days," Beth Dulle, Brogan's mother, said. "It's going to be very difficult this year on the anniversary of it all, but this is something we really hope will help."
Although the weight of the loss for the family was immense, Dulle’s mother says the love and generosity that poured out from the community was beyond inspiring. The campaign is a way to thank those who stepped up when Brogan was missing and to honor Brogan's memory.
Starting on May 18th and continuing for eight days, through May 25th, the campaign’s goal is simple; spread greatness by giving something of yourself daily. Participants who sign up will receive a morning email with suggestions for spreading greatness around their communities, regardless of where they live. The ideas will correspond with a daily theme, each chosen to reflect Brogan’s “zest for life”.
"We want people to realize that no act of kindness is too small, and that it doesn't take much to make others feel special," Beth Dulle said. "Everyone has the capacity for greatness."
The Dulle family came up with the idea shortly after Brogan's body was discovered. Beth says that she was trying to find a way to thank the thousands who turned up to help find her son, but also a way to honor Brogan's memory and make the sting of the anniversary of his death a little less consuming. "I thought, what can we do during those eight days? And the ball just got rolling within our family and soon spread to friends and now it's starting to really take off."
People now from all 50 states and several different countries have committed to the campaign already. The two states currently missing are Wyoming and South Dakota, Beth said. "We're hope some attention will help get someone from there to sign up," Beth laughed. In total so far, more than 2,500 people have registered.
The goal? “As many people spreading greatness as possible,” Beth said. “Just think, if 1,000 people do one small act of greatness a day and it leads others to do the same, it's a chain reaction.”
The idea of greatness stemmed from Brogan himself and from a phrase he'd share with the kids on the swim team he coached. "He would always say 'this could be your last chance for greatness'," Beth said. "Brogan may be gone, but that doesn't mean the greatness he inspired is."
If you are interested in taking part in ‘8 days of Greatness’ or want more information, you can visit 8daysofgreatness.org. You can also follow the group on social media at @gr8nesstbd on Twitter, @gr8nesstbd on Instagram, or join the Facebook group ‘8 Days of Greatness’.
The group is holding its official launch party on May 7th in Cincinnati, Ohio.