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Community organizer Ricky Smith embarks on "R.A.K.E. Gives Hope" hospital tour in honor of his late sister

Ricky Smith will visit hospitals in 30 different cities in partnership with the American Cancer Society.
Ricky Smith will visit hospitals in 30 different cities in partnership with the American Cancer Society.

This fall, the nonprofit charity called Random Acts of Kindness, or R.A.K.E., that was started by community organizer Ricky Smith, will celebrate 10 years.

To celebrate the milestone, he's embarking on a cross country tour to spread hope to 30 hospitals in partnership with the American Cancer Society.

"Bringing some good will and good energy. It's not all planned out. That's the 'R' in random," Smith said. "Hopefully I bring some smiles and some energy. Not just for the people I'm visiting, but people watching the tour."

The acts of kindness will include bringing a party-like atmosphere to the hospitals. Smith plans to bring DJs, musicians, magicians, chefs, comedians to entertain those staying in the hospitals.

The best act of kindness to give someone going through a tough time, Smith says is listening.

"Sometimes within listening you find where you can place yourself in the world to help people," Smith said.

This is his fifth cross-country tour, and his most personal one, as it is honoring his sister who died last year after a battle with cancer.

"I wasn't really ever one of those 'angel' type of people. I didn't disbelieve, but so many signs and things I've seen and have been shown in the last year and a half since she's been gone just let's me know that what I've been doing with spreading kindness and this and that is more needed now than ever," Smith said.

The tour began Tuesday in Rochester, New York. The Cleveland stop on the tour is on Sept. 21.

Smith will take a tour bus to most of the stops, but he will fly to some the locations, including the last destination on the tour to Honolulu on Oct. 18.

Gabriel Kramer is a reporter/producer and the host of “NewsDepth,” Ideastream Public Media's news show for kids.
Rachel is the supervising producer for Ideastream Public Media’s morning public affairs show, the “Sound of Ideas.”