Child’s life, death touched community

Along with many other members of the community, I found myself heartbroken over the news that Ainsley Kargela passed away last Sunday at Children’s Hospital in Detroit.

I first met Ainsley when she came in with the group from Commemorative Bucks of Michigan to drop off toys for The Mining Journal Cheer Club. Ainsley at the time was completely bald because of the treatments she was undergoing.

Other than her being bald, she had the biggest smile on her face and looked like a perfectly heathy young girl. In addition to the huge smile on her face she was very excited about being around all the toys that were donated to the Cheer Club. Ainsley seemed to understand what the donations meant to other kids that would not have much of a Christmas if it were not for the Cheer Club.

There are times that little ones come in and you can tell by the look in their eyes that they would like to take home some of the gifts gathered around the Christmas tree. I never saw that look in Ainsley’s eyes. She seemed to be happy to know that the gifts that they brought would go to some other kids in need.

Ainsley impacted many people that were part of Ainsley’s Army or Ainsley’s Angels. The teachers, students and staff at Cherry Creek Elementary School showed a huge amount of support for Ainsley during her courageous battle.

The last event I attended to support Ainsley was a car wash held recently in the parking lot of Frei Chevrolet. I saw the dedication that all the volunteers showed to be able to say they did something that would help Ainsley.

The money I donated for the car wash made me feel a little better that I could do this little thing to help the beautiful young girl that had impacted my life when delivering gifts for the Cheer Club.

I remember thinking how well Ainsley has handled the adversity that she has had to deal with.

Some people may have bad hair days and they think the world is coming to an end. Ainsley had challenges that impacted her from the first couple years of her life. I remember thinking it just wasn’t fair that she kept having to deal with those challenges. Ainsley’s mother also was fighting cancer herself, and she also seemed to take the challenges in stride showing gratitude for the support both Ainsley and she were receiving.

I never observed time spent by Ainsley or her mother complaining about the curve balls they kept having thrown at them.

A post for Ainsley’s Army’s Facebook page reads “Please remember how every single time you saw Ainsley she brought a smile to your face.” The post states, “how she was always so happy, loving, caring, selfless an amazing friend, a fighter, a true inspiration to everyone she met-the Ainsley list is endless.”

I can say that I agree with the post 100 percent. What I knew of Ainsley was that she was happy, caring, and selfless. The eight years she spent on earth was a gift to all who knew her because she had such a profound impact on everyone who spent time around her.

On the post from Ainsley’s Army they also made a request that said, in honor of Ainsley’s beautiful smile, you should smile friends. That is what she would want. That’s what Ainsley was always doing. When I read the post, I could not work up a smile, because I was so sad that Ainsley had passed away.

The post also said that Ainsley was now in heaven with her Grandpa Claude. When writing this column, I thought about what that reunion between Ainsley and her grandpa was going to be like and I worked out a smile.

I am sure both Ainsley and Grandpa Claude had a big smile on their faces when they were reunited, so I decided to put that picture in my mind and that allowed me to smile.

Thank you, Ainsley, for the impact you had on my life and all the people that knew you. You will be sadly missed by all your friends on earth.

Heaven will have many more smiles now that you have started your new life there. Our loss is Heaven’s gain.

Editor’s note: Jim Reevs is publisher of The Mining Journal.