Karla was our first born; she had always been healthy, strong, smart, and active. She was the big sister to Kelly and Kyle; she was always protective and caring. She loved ballet, she insisted on taking dance at age 3; she had been a high school cheer leader. We were totally shocked, when two weeks after she graduated with honors from high school in June of 1998, a biopsy of a large dark colored freckle on her thigh was diagnosed as melanoma We went to Dr. James Gavisser and Thomas Amatrudo at the Virginia Piper Cancer Center in Minneapolis, MN. How could a blue eyed, red haired girl who had very little sun exposure and had grown up in the Midwest have melanoma, stage lll, at age 18? She did a month of high dose, followed by 11 months, of interferon. (See Pofile Karla.s mom ) We prayed everyday and thanked God as year after year she had good checkups. Karla went to college the year she did treatment, and graduated with a degree in elementary education with a math concentration. During college she had been a resident assistant, traveled to Ireland, been on the college dance team, and on Homecoming royalty. After graduation, she married her high school sweetheart, Scott; spent a year as a faith formation director where her friendship with Fr. Joe and Fr. Tony helped her talk about her fears of her disease. She told me later, "mom, even Jesus, as he waited in the garden, didn't want to die, but God so loved Him, and that's what I have to remember". Such wisdom and faith she had... The following year, Karla and her husband relocated within 45 miles of "home and family". She was teaching math and had given birth to our first grandchild. Life was so good! Three months later, a CT scan didn't look good, so it was followed by a PET, that showed the melanoma was back with a vengeance. She did taxol/carboplastin and when it didn’t work, they tried DTIC but to no avail. She sat down and wrote out birthday cards and special occasion cards for baby Adam for him to open over the next 22 years. She did cards and notes for her husband, her sister and brother, and a photo journal for Adam. She sent treats and a note to her students thanking them for their prayers and wanting them to know that they did help her accomplish her final projects. Five months after her reoccurrence, with the help of Hospice, she died peacefully at home surrounded by her family. She was 26 years old. Her final lesson to all of us-- she thanked God for her full life, she just wished it hadn't been so short. She was like the star-gazer lilies she loved, she was beautiful but didn't last near long enough.