Kara Lynn, a dear friend and former designer at Vassar, passed away last Friday after a long, heroic battling with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Kara was an awesome designer, a loving mother, a technologist and a fighter.
I met Kara through an interview for the web design position at Vassar College. At the time the group was made up of four women; therefore, one of the questions was, “How do you feel about working with four women?” Although I didn’t know if I said the right thing, but I replied without hesitation, “I love it.” Kara lid up a big, beautiful smile and that was the moment I knew I wanted to be part of the team.
On my first day at the job, I was assigned to create a welcome back homepage banner. I wanted to come up with something nice to make a good impression, but I was stuck and didn’t know what to do. I came to Kara and she immediately gathered a number of people in the office and we headed to the front building to make a photo shoot. Kara helped me cropped the photo from the waist down just to show feet walking into the building as a welcome back banner. The banner was not approved because it was showing some butts so we went back and cropped out the butts as well. That was when I began to learn about Kara’s sense of humor. Working with her and absorbing her elegant design helped me out tremendously. I had many fond memories of Kara. She was strong, independent, articulate and very artistic.
When she took her maternity leave to give birth to her adorable Aiden, Kara never returned to work even though everything in her office remained the way it was when she left. Later when I found out that she was diagnosed with ALS and her blog about that topic, I followed her writing. Her personal accounts, particularly on her daily struggles with everyday life, broke my heart. Sometimes her words almost put me to tears. She went through a lot and life didn’t even give her a break. She not only fought for her life, but also for those in similar situation. She raised the awareness of the disease and challenged insurance companies for speech-impairment remedy.
Rest in peace, Kara. You will always be missed.