A gift of memories - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/25/09

A gift of memories

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By Brittany Pieper  - bio | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - While many people spend the Christmas holiday enjoying their family, it can be a difficult day for those who have recently lost a loved one. Two Lubbock High School students worked to create a very special gift for a family who just weeks ago lost their daughter. 

 "Her name was Shakiri Montoya, and she was 16-years-old. She had been at Covenant for almost a full year when we met her, and she had leukemia," said Kayla Fletcher.  She and her friend Britni Bass wanted to intern at the hospital their senior year to learn about the medical field. They ended up learning a little more than they bargained for when they met Shakiri Montoya. Each day the girls would go on rounds, and then find themselves at Montoya's side where they would sometimes spend hours talking. In the few short months before her death, they developed a close friendship. They tried to help make her comfortable, and in return she taught them those all important, coming of age, life lessons.  After her death, they put those memories and lessons into a book for her family.

"Each page is a different big memory that we had with her, said Fletcher as she flipped through the book. One of the memories taught them not to sweat the small stuff. "She really taught us of what we took for granted," said Bass. 

They also learned how to let go. "You were able to forgive when no one else could, and you could smile when the worst situations faced you directly," said Fletcher as she read an entry out of the book. 

They say most importantly they learned never to lose faith, even in the face of death. "No matter what she was going through, no matter what had happened, she still believed. She still cared," said Fletcher. 

One day they visited and found doctors had moved Montoya to the intensive care unit. "That really put us in shock, just to see her connected to all of the machines," said Bass. 

"We had to tell her good bye, and she passed away that night. And that's the end of the book," said Fletcher. However, it's not the end of her impact on their lives. "When we told them your story, they were amazed. Just like I will never cease to be amazed. Your story will always be with me, just like you will always be with me," read Bass.

The girls, with the help of Lubbock High's FBLA program hope to plan a few events to raise awareness about Leukemia, and money to help Montoya's family pay her medical bills.

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