Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
-Corrie ten Boom
If I were to tell you of a Providence student who, despite dyslexia, gathered 100,000 followers for her online fan fiction, was the Communications Director for the Washington Legislative Youth Advisory Committee, scored in the top 3% on her PSAT, and cared deeply for people, you might say this girl sounds remarkable.
But what if I told you she accomplished all this as she battled cancer?
Karina Eide was diagnosed with a rare metastatic cancer, which eventually took her life. But hers is not a story of dying. It is one of living.
Karina, a sunny girl, flourished in many environments. In fourth grade she came to Providence from a small hands-on school. At Providence, she found a faith-based community of academically motivated peers. Music, literature, and history, with its dramatic reenactments, were some of her favorite subjects. Karina loved to learn. She earned straight A’s and played on the girls volleyball team.
At the end of fourth grade, doctors discovered Karina had cancer. The fight to live took her through multiple tests, surgeries, and drug trials. It took her out of the classroom and out of the country. She completed her homework on the road and in hospitals. This unusual arrangement gave her opportunities to encourage and inspire people, such as Christine, who had second thoughts about her upcoming lung surgery, and Laura, a young doctor-in-training. This doctor wrote, “I think of Karina often, her self-reliance, positive attitude, and humor. I am a better person and physician for knowing her.”
Despite many treatments, Karina’s cancer continued to reappear. In eighth grade, when a lung tumor encroached on her heart, she left Providence to homeschool. This began what her father called “the golden period of her life.” Her creativity took flight and her mother said she “wrote like a fiend.” Connections on the internet became a lifeline for her—a place where friendships blossomed, creativity grew, and she earned an income. Though cancer took its toll on her energy, her indomitable spirit soared. Through an online Christian debate club, she made close friends and told her mother, “Don’t worry about me. I have a little prayer group.”
In April 2014, weeks before Karina passed away, her mother reminded her of Joshua 1:9, the baptismal verse Karina chose when she was eight. As her mother read the verse aloud, Karina listened to the words: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” She handed the verse to Karina, who held it close to her heart and took courage once more.
Yes, Karina was a remarkable girl who learned some profound things during her short time here: to receive life as a gift for as long as it was hers, that it isn’t really over until we are called home, and that Christians never say “Goodbye forever,” but rather, “Until we meet again.”
Karina lived. She lived fully. She lived beautifully. She lived well, and we can learn much from her life.
A writing contest has been set up in Karina’s honor. For details, and more about her life, visit http://www.karinaeide.com/
-Published in Terra Firma, Spring 2015