So… It started last December – December 2nd to be exact. Out of the blue I got an email with a last name I thought I recognized… I did.
While I do not know you and nor you I, I am feeling compelled to write this e-mail to you. I got online again tonight because I felt the need to read your story, that I have read before and know oh so well.
First, I should probably tell you who I am. My name is Nicole. You may be familiar with my last name due to the fact that I am Ryan (Kari's boyfriend's) youngest sister. I am 16 years old, and am a sophomore at Algona High School. I was in the second grade when Kari died almost 8 years ago. I was completely devastated when I heard the news, because Kari was my role model. I wanted nothing more than to be EXACTLY like Kari when I grew up. I even cut my hair to look like hers when I was younger! And, whenever Ryan had her over, I wanted her to hang out with me, not him!! :)
Lately, I have been thinking about her more often than I had been the last few years. It is hard for me to think that I am almost the same age as her when she passed away. I can only imagine what it will be like for me when I get to go to my Junior prom.
I am so thankful that she was such a strong individual and knew what she wanted. And, am SO glad that she was able to help people like you to live! She was an amazing person.
So, now for the main reason I am e-mailing you. I am a member of the speech team at my school, and this year for individual speech one of my events is called Original Oratory. In this event you are supposed to write a maximum 8 minute speech about and inspirational topic and it can as well be persuasive. When my teacher, Miss L, was giving me ideas of what people had done in the past for the topic of their speech they were things such as cancer treatment, bullying, etc..But, I knew after her first suggestion what I wanted to do. I want to write my speech on Organ Donation, to use the inspirational story of an amazing girl and to try and persuade how important organ donation can be. (Kari is the reason that I decided to be an organ donor.)
Nicole asked me for some websites and sources of information about organ donation, and any information I might be able to provide to help her in building her persuasive speech… The next day, she told me that she was probably jumping the gun – that her contest for Individual Speech isn’t until March, but she was just so excited. She said she wanted it to be so good, for Kari, and for me. She told me her main goal was to reach All-State – the highest honor she can get. Her teacher told her that was very possible if she had a very good speech.
In subsequent emails, Nicole told me more about her relationship with Kari… She let me know a little more about the beautiful girl I think about every day. Nicole also helped me understand how precious the friends who surrounded her truly are…
On February 11th, Nicole sent me the first draft of her speech. On Saturday, February 23, Nicole participated in districts at Bishop Garrigan High School in Algona – the town where Kari was born and raised. She performed in front of one judge and received a “Division 1” (the highest rating) and advanced to the State contest on March 8th.
I got a beautiful little email from Nicole on Kari’s birthday – Friday, March 7th. She let me know that she went to “see” Kari, and leave her a little gift. She saw the flowers and note I left. And, she left her speech in a Ziploc baggie anchored down by a cute little Easter angel figurine.
So, to put it bluntly...I kicked butt. I came out of that performance feeling the best ever!! I nailed it. And that was before I even got my rating.
On Saturday, March 8th at 3:18pm, Nicole participated in State at Manson NW Webster High School. She performed before three judges and received a “Division 1” from each of the three judges and was nominated to perform at the All-State Festival at University of Northern Iowa on March 31st. One of the judges commented on her ballot that she hoped Nicole can share her speech more widely. And her friend CJ told her that after he performed, he was checking his license to make sure he's a registered organ donor.
On December 3rd, Nicole told me her goal was to reach All-State. She made her goal. I know Kari is upstairs looking down on her precious young friend with a beaming smile – I know Kari is very proud of Nicole. I am too.