It’s funny when you’ve never met someone, yet you can still remember that person as if you just saw them yesterday. I wish I could recall where exactly it was I first saw you. I’m not sure if it was in Starbucks, in the library, or in between walking to classes. What I can say is I remember you smiling. You seemed to always have a giant smile on your face. One of those kind, gentle, ear to ear grins that could light up a room, causing those around you to become joyful. I guess I should start here and introduce myself. I am Cara Lutchko from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I heard you’re from Hazelton, which is not far at all from me! Also, fun fact, our dads work together! It’s crazy to think you were so close, as I always love meeting new people who are from the same area. We also share some common passions. We both played basketball, both enjoyed writing articles, and both have a heart for helping others.
All week, I had been thinking that I wish our paths would have somehow met. Whether it being from mutual friends, or by chance of both being in the Women’s Center, I feel like we would’ve been friends. I’ll be completely honest with you, usually I forget names/faces within a day. But you have been on my mind all week. I’m not sure if it’s God or just my thoughts running in circles. I’ve visited your Facebook daily, scrolled through your photos, and read your wonderfully written articles. For not knowing you personally, I can tell you a couple things I’ve learned.
You had a big heart. Multiple people have commented about how much you loved to help others. Not only did you partake in helping at the annual Cancer Telethon in Jim Thorpe, you also helped keep Kutztown a safer environment by organizing self-defense workshops. Not only does that take hard work, but also determination and support. Woman to woman, I want to thank you for this. It is too common for campus violence to occur towards girls, and personally, I believe your workshop taught girls the importance of self-defense. I can say Kutztown was tremendously lucky to have a student with passion like you.
Secondly, I commend your thoughts and words. I had only wished we could’ve conversed about mental health. You see, I have had my past struggles as well. It is so hard to seek help when you think there is no one there to talk to. You, on the other hand, encouraged those to continue on. Even when you were battling your own wars, you continued to inspire and push those to see the light through the grey clouds. I couldn’t help but cry reading your article. It wasn’t because I felt sad, but because I could feel the love pouring from your words. I knew you truly meant everything you said. You spoke on building supportive relationships, pushing to never give up, and most importantly, reaching for help when it’s needed. I think too many times individuals, of all genders and ages, feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You challenged that. I cannot begin to tell you how much your words have stuck with me. You have helped me by wanting to continue to grow and build my self-confidence, and by wanting to find a more clear and balanced health, both mentally and emotionally.
Lastly, Kayla, you were loved. You still are. I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of people’s lives you’ve touched, even those who didn’t know you personally, including me. You have left an impact on us all. I can say that because of your existence, you have helped me become more comfortable to speak about my challenges in mental health. I talk to my family, especially my dad, to let him know everything I am feeling. I want you to know that it was because of you, your words, and the person you were on this planet. Your family, friends, and extended students from Kutztown will always remember the person you were.
I do want you to know I will carry your words with me forever. I know you are reading this somewhere, and I hope you’re not laughing at my grammar, since you were a professional writing major. I can say you would’ve been a great person to have in one’s life. Your smile will always be the sparkle in everyone’s heart. I hope you are at peace, on a warm, sunny beach continuing to help others around you, as you did here on Earth. I promise, you will continue to live on in spirit. Thank you for impacting my life.
For those wishing to make a contribution, please consider contributing a donation in Kayla’s memory. Anyone wishing to contribute can make checks payable to “CancerTelethon.org.” You can contribute online at: www.CancerTelethon.org. Refer donation questions to MaryAnn Dulaney ar 570-645-4228. Mail to: Cancer Telethon, Attention: Mary Ann Dulaney, P.O. Box 33, Lansford PA 18232.