Sarah Knight’s Story

A Young Kindergarten Teacher’s Family and Community Remember Her

Sarah’s family share the mark she made on the world

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On September 26, 2011, one word – myocarditis – changed our lives forever.  At the time we did not know the disease or how it steals the lives of children and young adults without symptoms or warning.  Now the word strikes fear and sadness in our hearts.

Our daughter, Sarah, was the kind of person who would light up a room.  Her energy and enthusiasm for life were contagious.  Her BIG laugh was something we loved most about her.  Sarah was a 25 year old bi-lingual kindergarten teacher just starting her second year of teaching.  She had a passion for children and poured her heart and soul into her career.  She truly loved her students and worked hard to make learning fun.

On September 26, 2011, Sarah spent a typical day as a kindergarten teacher.  She taught during the day, attended a meeting in the late afternoon, and in the evening was working in her classroom on her lesson plans.  Around 7:30 p.m. the school custodian discovered Sarah lying on her classroom floor where she had simply laid down and died.  The weekend before she and her boyfriend were home to visit.  We went to a college football game, shopped for Halloween decorations for her classroom, spent time laughing and enjoying each other’s company.  Twenty four hours after she left home, she was gone.  No illness, no symptoms, no worries in the world the day before.  We could not have suffered a bigger shock.

Thanks to a very diligent coroner, who was determined to find the cause of Sarah’s death, we learned of myocarditis.  Since then we have met other families devastated by this disease.  We hope Sarah’s story will bring an awareness of myocarditis and help support research so that no more precious lives are lost.  Sarah brought joy to many people during her short time on this earth.  Our world is much too quiet without her.

In honor of Sarah, this year will mark the 1st Annual Sarah Knight Memorial Golf Tournament in Marion, Iowa. The goal of our tournament is to raise funds for the Myocarditis Foundation as well as support the Sarah Knight Memorial Scholarship at Western Illinois University.  The scholarship is available to bi-lingual bi-cultural elementary education majors.  Sarah’s time in the classroom was short, however, her ability to impact young lives endures forever.  In her honor, we have established the Sarah Knight Memorial Scholarship at Western Illinois University to assist teachers who exemplify her passion for children and for making learning fun.