Many people go about doing good deeds in their families, neighborhoods, organizations and church congregations. “Utah Valley’s Everyday Heroes” celebrates these unsung community members and brings to light their quiet contributions.
Lindsie Ward wears her son’s name around her neck every day. In the year since his death, she’s found peace in keeping those little letters close.
“I can carry a piece of Royce with me everywhere that I go,” she said.
Jaiden and Lindsie Ward have used their grief from their son’s accidental death to form Rightly Royce, a Utah-based company that creates custom jewelry for those who have lost a loved one.
“We want it to be a place where people in the same situation as us have somewhere to turn,” Jaiden Ward said.
Royce died three days after accidentally falling from a bed and going into cardiac arrest on July 4, 2018. He was 20 months old.
The Wards were in California, where Jaiden was doing summer sales, and returned to Orem afterward. But in the time after Royce’s death, they didn’t feel like stepping into a job that wasn’t fulfilling for them or lacked purpose.
“I think we just really had a hard time, especially since he was our only child,” Lindsie Ward said. “He was basically everything we thought about, at least for me. I stayed home with him every day.”
They’d received jewelry with Royce’s name on it after his death, and realized that they could help other families heal through customized necklaces.
“People always want to do something, but they don’t know what to do,” Lindsie Ward said.
The couple had no experience with jewelry, except for a class Lindsie Ward took in high school. She watched YouTube videos on how to stamp and solder jewelry, and the company was born.
The couple has a weekly booth at the Provo Farmers Market and donates 10% of their proceeds to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, one of the two hospitals Royce was treated at.
Rightly Royce gives them the opportunity to continue to introduce people to Royce and his personality. Lindsie Ward said he enjoyed making people laugh, was always dancing and loved watching Disney movies because of the colors and music.
The lyrics to the song “Remember Me” from his favorite movie, “Coco,” are etched into the back of his headstone.
Lindsie Ward creates the jewelry in Royce’s old bedroom, underneath his nursery’s wall decorations.
“We still wanted him to be a part of our lives and to be able to think of him every day,” she said.
Donating a portion of their profits is a way for them to give back to the hospital that cared for Royce. The Wards said the hospital would stretch the rules to allow their entire family into Royce’s room, instead of only letting in a couple of people at a time.
They also received help from their community following Royce’s death. A GoFundMe to help them with medical bills raised more than $70,000.
“After you lose especially a child, you don’t want to have to think about the bills,” Jaiden Ward said.
For Royce’s funeral, they asked for donated stuffed animals instead of flowers, and donated the toys to a hospital. They’ve also been up to Primary Children’s Hospital to visit and take Christmas gifts to a child who was hospitalized due to parental abuse.
Rightly Royce donates necklaces to families who have lost a child and features a family’s story every week.
“I think it is relieving for them to get their story out there and receive the support they need,” Jaiden Ward said. “Some of them, it’s been years and years, but they are still really hurt by what’s happened. Sometimes, you feel like the world continues on as normal and you are still trying to figure out life as it’s not normal.”