Woman’s Battle With Heart Disease Inspires Superior Students

'Red the Rink' Raises Awareness, Funds

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Superior hockey fans supported more than just the players at Wessman Arena Thursday.

They participated in ‘Red the Rink’, an event put on by Superior High School seniors to bring awareness to heart disease.

The spotlight was on the Krysiak family who lost their daughter, Mara, to heart disease.

Her father and brother dropped the puck to kick off the game in her memory.

The students hope to raise around $4,000 from t-shirt sales and a silent auction.

They plan on donating half of the proceeds to the American Heart Association and the other half to a scholarship in Mara’s name.


It’s not often a mother and child share in the struggle of heart disease.

For Heather Krysiak, it’s been a life-long battle getting diagnosed in kindergarten.

“We had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which was passed down by my mom whom died when she was 25, I was three, and I passed it on to Mara,” she said.

Heather and her daughter fought the fight together.

“When we first did it in the cities we used to go together. We went to the same hospital and saw the same doctor,” Heather said.

But Mara’s condition increasingly got worse.

“It’s heartbreaking to watch your child go through what she went through,” Heather said.

Mara spent months in the hospital and even had a heart transplant, but eventually she lost the battle at 21.

“Enjoyed life, she really really enjoyed it. Had a desire to live,” Heather cried. “Bowling. She was a huge bowler. Softball. Just watching her be with her friends.”

It’s been a year since Mara’s death and the community is still standing behind the Krysiak family.

Three Superior High School seniors gave a jersey to Heather in memory of her daughter as part of their senior project called ‘Red the Rink.’

“It means a lot because I have heart disease in my family, too. So just being able to make a difference in the community is just a lot for us,” said Torri Kallinen, one of the students behind the project.

They rallied up five sponsors who donated jerseys for the boy’s hockey team to wear to Thursday’s game all in the name of heart disease awareness.

“We have a lot of pink events for breast cancer. We had football, we had basketball, we had all sorts of things, so they thought it was really cool to do heart disease,” said Kallinen.

It means the most to the Krysiak family.

“I think it’s amazing that even a year later a community can come together and still support one little girl who tried so hard, even a year later,” said Heather.

They’re taking it day by day keeping Mara’s memory alive in their hearts and on the ice.

“We go through our struggles. it’s hard to lose a child or a sister,” said Heather.

Categories: Community-imported, Features on Fox-imported, Focus On Health-imported, Health-imported