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HUMANS OF SARNIA: Celebrating Moxie - The legacy of Krista Pask

The Sarnia Journal has partnered with local photographer Art Connolly to feature his captivating “Humans of Sarnia” series as he delves into the lives and experiences of everyday people in Sarnia. Follow his series on Instagram and Facebook

In the heart of Sarnia, the spirit of "Moxie" thrives, embodied by the life and legacy of Krista Pask. Defined by Krista as courage, nerve, and determination, moxie was her guiding force through an extraordinary life marked by both triumph and hardship.

Krista Pask, a beautiful 34-year-old woman, was the eldest of three daughters to Terri and Bill Pask. She was a cherished big sister to Brittany and Katelyn and a loving aunt to Lucas, Levi, and Arlynn. The Pasks have always been a closely-knit family. As Krista’s father, Bill, said, “Not perfect, but there for each other through thick and thin.”

At 16, Krista was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. With unwavering resolve, she beat it. However, her battle resumed in July 2018 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even then, Krista’s thoughts turned outward. She started a blog to keep her loved ones updated and to help others worldwide understand the gruelling journey through cancer treatment.

Krista’s blog is a testament to her bravery and authenticity. It’s a deeply personal account filled with her thoughts, fears, anger, frustration, and love. She chronicled her experiences with surgery, radiation, chemo, fertility treatments, and the daily ups and downs of living with cancer. Her writing, raw and honest, often brought tears to the eyes of her readers.

On December 23, 2019, Krista lost her battle with cancer. In her memory, the Pask family founded a non-profit organization in 2020 called “The Girl’s Got Moxie,” dedicated to continuing Krista’s legacy of kindness and resilience.

I recently sat down with Krista’s sister, Brittany Pask, and Diana Doornbosch, a member of the Board of Directors. They explained that during Krista’s battle, she received numerous gifts and acts of kindness from friends, family, and blog readers. The non-profit was created to “honor Krista by raising money to spread little gifts of kindness to local patients undergoing cancer treatments, in hopes of alleviating some burdens and raising their spirits.”

These gifts, such as gas and grocery cards or warm socks for cold treatment rooms, aim to brighten a patient’s day. Krista always believed in paying it forward, and “The Girl’s Got Moxie” seeks to perpetuate that philosophy.

The organization hosts various fundraisers, including the annual “Duc Cruise” on the Duc D’Orleans, scheduled this year for July 19, 2024, from 6 pm to 9 pm. The event promises music, dancing, and a cash bar. Tickets are $35, with more details available on their Facebook page.

Another unique event is the “Egg My Yard” fundraiser, where you can purchase stuffed Easter eggs that honorary Easter bunnies will hide in your yard. Information about this event and merchandise sales is also on their Facebook page.

Diana met the Pask family through Krista’s nieces and nephews, as she was their educator. She learned about Krista through the children's stories, who say that whenever they see a butterfly, it reminds them of Krista.

To keep Krista’s memory alive, especially for the children, Krista’s youngest sister, Katelyn, wrote a book titled “Hello From Heaven,” designed to help children understand the passing of a loved one. The book is available on Amazon and at The Book Keeper in Sarnia.

For more information and to support this inspiring organization, visit The Girl’s Got Moxie.

“Humans of Sarnia” founder Art Connolly is a man fuelled by curiosity and a passion for connecting with people in Sarnia. Inspired by the renowned “Humans of New York” series, with a camera in hand, he captures the very essence of the individuals he encounters, preserving their stories through his lens.

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