Livermore woman honors son who died 20 years ago with act of kindness
LIVERMORE, Calif. - When word went out there would be free ice cream in Livermore on Monday people, parents especially, hopped in their cars and lined up.
Ice Cream Day was the creation of resident Veronica Johnson. It was her way to make a happy day out of what might otherwise be a very sad one.
Monday, July 27, is the 20th anniversary of the death of her son Dylan who died at the age of two of a rare heart condition, after four surgeries.
"Instead of being sad I wanted to do something positive for our community here in Livermore," said Johnson.
For the past 19 years, Johnson has commemorated Dylan's death with a bowl-a-thon in Fremont. Collectively, they raised almost $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area Foundation, which granted Dylan's final wish.
"My son received a wish 10 days before he passed away. He met Mickey Mouse July 17th. He died July 27th," she said.
This year Johnson planned a different type of fundraiser. But like so many events, COVID-19 made it impossible.
So rather than let the 20th anniversary quietly pass, Johnson, with the help of donations, hired a Mr. Softee ice cream truck for half a day, giving cooped up kids a little treat.
But there's a slight twist. Families who come are asked to donate non-perishable food here to the Sutton Family Farmers Market, which has started a community market and garden at their home for those in need.
"We need to understand in this time, we need to do good. We need to give back. And we need to do a random act of kindness," she said.
More than 400 people were expected.
"It sounded like it meant a lot to her for people to show up. And I can only imagine what she thinks about every year," said Skye Vazquez of Livermore.
What Johnson says she is thinking about is doing this every year.
"[It] makes me happy. My son would be proud," she said.