I've been sitting at my computer for about 10 hours today, getting things ready here and there for our online release tomorrow...the sun is setting juuust on the edge of the mountains outside my window, enough for a ray to pierce into my vision.
Sometimes sunsets are like that...so beautiful and majestic that you can't help but look at it, no matter how bright it is, or how much it hurts. It always seems brightest right before it dips behind the horizon, doesn't it?
I met Daphne Knecht about 5 years ago; we went to the same university. The first time I saw her, it was her roommate that pointed her out and said, "THAT'S my really cool roommate." On the sidewalk in the distance is where I saw a brightly smiling girl who waved back at us.
I'll be perfectly honest, I never really got to know her. I always saw her in the gymnastics shows (In.credible gymnast), or around campus and she was always really sweet.
But about 6 months ago, I started seeing mutual friends on Facebook say they were praying for her. Stories from festival-goers had made us hypersensitive to cancer stories so I wrote her, curious about hers, offering our support and prayers.
(She also happened to know Julenne, our actress, and had gotten to talk with her about their situations)
Come to find out, I'd caught her shortly after she took the plunge and had shaved her head. And yet her message was still dotted with smiley faces and a cheerful outlook:
"Hey, yes I remember you, dear. Thank you so much for you support and prayers. . . I gotta have optimism, it's tougher without it.
My boyfriend and I were in a car accident in July 2008. The airbag hit me in the face, and scratched my right eye. The doctors did a CTscan to check for trauma inside my head due to the blow which showed the tumor on the left.. Totally random, but I strongly believe it was God letting me know my life was about to change. I had never had any type of symptoms from this tumor before, and still did not until January 2010. I began having headaches which felt like major migranes, but turned out to be siezures. I had surgery that January and started the chemo treatment I did in February through December 2010. The tumor shrunk about 75% of its original size. Had a great and uneventful school year, but then this May I started to have siezures again, which are now worse than just headaches, but I have never lost conciousness in one. I came home for another surgery because they found a spot on the tumor, and now getting ready to start another bit of the chemo, and radiation treatment at the same time. =/ I'm kinda nervous, but I'm sure I'll be alright. I was expecting to lose most to all of the hair on the left side of my head. So I went ahead and donated what I had.
My hair wasn't long enough to make a hair piece, but I read online that they still accept it and can use it for somethings, so I figured "what the heck?" lol.
Thank you for your interest. Again, I really appreciate the prayers, and your film story sounds so great. I wish we could know each other a little better.
God bless you and your thoughtfulless!
A short bit ago, things took a turn for the worse, and I started to see just how many lives this girl had touched. An unbelievable amount of people from all over the country were praying for her and even raising money for her brother's airfare to get to her bedside. Donors raised the $1500 within a day and then blew a good $6,000 past that to go towards her medical costs.
A Facebook group called Daphne's Warriors kept everyone in the loop from small triumphs to laughable Daphne-isms... to when she fell asleep Saturday night, January 28.
Scroll through her comments, peoples' pictures, her friends' stories...it's no question that she was a bright ray of a setting sun. For those last couple weeks, her positive influence shined so brightly that people like me who didn't even know her that well just couldn't help but watch, even though it hurt.
Her funeral is in a few days and the pain is so fresh for her family, friends and teammates. My heart and prayers go out to you all and I can't wait for the day to see the smiles of those who loved her so much, reunited with hers...and getting to know her better =)
Daphne, this one's for you; as petty as it may seem (or is), we'd like to dedicate our online premier to her, and to those who could use the comfort and hope. Blessings and strength in the coming months...