Missing you so much this summer, Koa.
We miss you.
Koa, one of my favourite memories with you was C Quiz in 2016, definitely the best year of quiz. You got the group so pumped up- and made sure we got the most sparkly tape and ribbons for our capes. I still remember that day so clearly, when we played musical chairs in your van because we all needed to see what it was like to sit the other way in the car. When we actually went to quiz, I remember we started by doing that group crossword puzzle, and we had gotten all of our answers on the paper except for one. We were bouncing ideas off of each other, and making up words because we knew it started with a K. And literally took us so long, until we had an epiphany at the same time- kineton noseband! I think the reason why this memory stands out so much to me is because you never gave up. Koa, you are the true embodiment of perseverance and strength. I am so, so lucky to have known you. In your 14 years you knew more than most will in a lifetime. Thank you for forever inspiring me everyday to live my life to the fullest.
I am so incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to get to know Koa better these past few years. We had a great time reconnecting. I am posting some pictures of their visit to the Ukrainian Cultural Village by Edmonton from a visit in 2014.
An honor to have met and her amazing parents. our time together was brief, but filled with so much laughter and love. Koa managed to make our team stronger and brighter. We will cherish these memories forever.
We first met Marc, Michelle and Koa at Nicole's first Rally in 2016. Nicole and her friend Aubree were placed on a mixed team that included girls from Vancouver and Sechelt. All the girls, including the parents, quickly became good friends and 2016 still remains one of Nicole's favourite Rally years. But it was the following year that we got to know them even better. We were both camping in Tofino that summer and made plans to spend the day together. During a hike we took, Nicole and Koa got to spend one on one time together as they easily found themselves way ahead of us, lost in conversation. Later that day Nicole confided in me how much fun she had with Koa, telling me how easy it was to talk to Koa and how nice, interesting and smart she was. It was easy to see where Koa got her traits from because we felt the same way about Marc and Michelle. Koa, we are so blessed to have known you. You are beautiful both inside and out. You fought your battle with cancer so bravely. It seems you were so much older and wiser than 14 years. You will never be forgotten….your memory lives on forever in our hearts. We love you and miss you.
Koa's birthday in 2009
I was Koa's babysitter when she was four years old. We had so many amazing adventures together and so much fun. Every day with her was filled with arts and crafts, reading and playing with the hundreds of schleich figurines she loved so much as a child. Koa forced me out of my box of being a university student and made me enjoy the simple things of childhood like Sparks (I became her girl guide leader) and horses (an interest she had from a very young age). I spent so much time with Koa, Michelle and Marc they became a second family to me. I will forever remember her sweet face and feisty personality. My thoughts and prayers are with Marc, Michelle and all of koa's family and friends.
Some people leave a huge and immediate amazing impact on your heart - Koa and her mother Michelle were two such wonderful people. I first truly met Koa and Michelle at a Rally prep camp Michelle had organized at Southlands. From the very first hugs, they felt like old friends. Michelle's huge enthusiasm, and Koa's absolute love for all things horse related impressed me beyond words. Our paths crossed many times after that and we saw each other at various pony club events and activities and later at horse trials competitions - what never changed was the huge delighted smiles I received from Koa, nor the almost tangible positive excitement she always exuded. Koa was a joy - I never left a conversation with her or her mother without feeling uplifted and invigorated - she had that beautiful effect on people. Koa, my family and I were so shocked at your passing and our incredible depth of sadness knows no words. You were one in a million and the world too soon lost a brilliant source of joy and love with your passing. You and your family are in our hearts and prayers - may you have peace knowing you had such a profound impact on us all.
Lessons with Koa were always full of joy and happiness both at home and at competitions... Koa took great pleasure in learning and doing it well. Often I gave her assignments for home work and I would look forward to her very informative pages of newly found knowledge at the following weeks lesson. Marc and Michelle were as excited as Koa to receive the weeks homework too! Her enthusiasm was contagious along with her lovely smile and personality. Recently I have also reflected on her ability to talk through some of her riding lessons whilst she was trying to understand the task at hand... it helped her to fully understand the goal that was to be achieved and allowed her to feel and connect with "Blake". Simply talking out loud whilst navigating the accuracy of a 20 meter circle or a simple transition wanting it to be done so very perfectly.... we could always hear Koa full of praise for Blake - "Good Boy Blake" !!! I have fondly brought this up in recent lessons with some other students in the hope that it helps them to also understand how it may help them reach their goals and learn from Koa's skills and her desire to learn. She will forever be in our hearts and I will continue to remember our lessons... our memorable trip to Spruce Meadows and that she touched so many peoples hearts. Our thoughts are with Marc and Michelle and their family.... God Bless you Koa
As quietly as a blanket of snow does my grief surround me. The quietude of what should NOT be breaks the air and rends the peace And yet with a joy as bright as the brightest star did you burn, And it is that star that melts the enshrouding remorse and reminds me to keep reaching for that brightness no matter how dark it gets For one to burn with such rapture for the day, it is a sin to allow such pain conceal your light. Burn brightly from the heavens my dear one, For we will need your warmth to remind us of your mirth, and light the way for us when we are together again.
We met Koa when she a little girl perhaps 7 or 8 in Spain and later in Vancouver where we went for a beach walk and had ice cream together. Will never forget her sweet innocent smile seating next to adults discussing science and quietly coloring with her crayons.
This is how we remember Koa - laughing in rain!
Although I was not able to see Koa in person recently, I loved being able to connect with her and learn more about her favorite things as she grew up. My dad always sent me photo updates of their adventures. I'm glad I was able to see the fun times they shared and love going through these pictures.
Koa, we can see you sitting at our dinner table together with our daughter Lea, eating very focused tiny morsels of food because of your braces. It always was so funny. Lea was finished and eager to disappear with you upstairs in her room. But you were still enjoying the meal with a quite smile about her impatience. Almost every time you were teasing Lea about "her chair" and you tried to sit exactly on her spot so you could pretend to have a fight over it. These dinners, the fabulous chats with you and your giggling and whispering with Lea are in our mind forever. You were a part of our family.
Dear Koa, You were my very first friend in Canada. And not only the first but also my best. We were so close and shared many great moments together for the last years. I still remember our first sleepover (omg so long ago), when we gave each other a make over, stuffed our faces with food, and talked about life and our fantasies. One of our greatest passions we shared were books! We could discuss the story and characters forever. Thank you Koa for allowing me to read your first own stories. It was so exciting to see what worlds you had come up with. I will always treasure your words and will have a place for you in my heart. Lea Mahintorabi
Memories of visiting you all while you were camping at Rathtrevor Beach a few summers ago - Koa cycling around the campsites and she tumbled with her bike, then let out a blood curdling scream for her mom. She was ok.... scraped knees. Everyone knew where she was though - good times :)
Koa, you are an amazing mentor and one of the bravest people we know. You touched our hearts deeply. Such an honour to know a person like you! Sophie and I will never forget how you STILL wanted to go out to the x country field at MREC even though a bear had been there. The rest of us were ready to pack it in...but not Koa. Much, much love to you.
I remember this day so clearly. Koa, a few others, and I went cross county schooling at MREC. We were practing for the 2017 Mary Swanson Horse Trials that were soon approaching. Koa and Solo totally killed it out there - through the water and everything!!! We all had so much fun and made amazing memories!
I remember meeting Koa in Paris - the same trip that is captured in her photo. We spent a sunny afternoon having lunch with her, Marc and Michelle. What a remarkable young woman. My 11 year old son Sam thought she was fabulous.