GROTON — Pink ribbons decorate trees and mailboxes across Groton as a way to honor 7-year-old Cassidy Patrice Baracka, a town resident who died on Jan. 18 due to “complications from COVID-19,” according to the girl’s obituary.
The photo of Cassidy included in the obituary shows the little girl’s face glowing with a smile as she cradles in her arms a fluffy dog that appears to be smiling along with her.
“It was very hard not to smile when you met or ran into Cassidy because she smiled all the time and told hilarious jokes,” the Badger Funeral Homes obituary states. “She was a kind, helpful and inclusive spirit. She was very inquisitive and smart with just the right amount of sass.”
Cassidy was described in the obituary as an avid dancer, singer and gymnast, who was in the Girl Scouts. The active and artistic youth colored and drew rainbows daily and “loved to make pictures for people to thank them or to brighten their day,” it states.
Cassidy is survived by her mother, Donna Baracka, of Groton, and grandfather, Walter Maziarski, of Milford, as well as several other family members. The 7-year-old is also survived by her Pomeranian puppy, Delilah Cupcake, “who she loved endlessly,” along with four house rabbits, according to the obituary.
“Her place in our hearts will never be full again,” it states.
Cassidy’s death has brought heartache to the Groton community, which has been expressed by the dozens of posts about the 7-year-old on social media.
“She was a ray of light,” said one woman on Facebook. “Always smiling. It’s just not fair.”
As a result of the tragedy, the community has come together to honor Cassidy’s life.
Country Kids Child Development Center, where Cassidy was a former student, used Facebook to announce plans to set up a “buddy bench” outside the center that will display Cassidy’s name. The Country Kids Child Development Center also revealed they intend to plant a tree on the center’s property on Main Street.
“Cassidy was always a great friend to sit beside and turn to, and a tree planted will cherish her continued growth at a place where her roots have made such a profound, and permeant impact on all those that loved her so very much.” the center stated on Facebook.
According to Cassidy’s obituary, a memorial fund has also been set up in honor of the 7-year-old. The funds raised by the Cassidy Patrice Baracka Rainbow Brigade will be used to support community services earmarked for children in the Groton area who are in kindergarten to fourth grade.
As of Monday night, about $8,500 had been raised.
Those interested in contributing to the fund can mail a check directly to the Cassidy Patrice Barack Rainbow Brigade, 167 Wintergreen Lane, Groton, MA 01450 or donate by visiting paypal.com/pools/c/8GS7rtAneh.