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Thank You From Team Kayla

by: John Tecce

Finding the words to express the gratitude we feel towards the Penn State community seems impossible, but I’ll give it a shot.

The story of Kayla’s love for Penn State has been well documented over the past few weeks. Friends, roommates, and faculty shared memories of her involvement on campus and in the community.

The story of how Penn State fell in love with Kayla, however, continues to amaze her family and me.

A voice familiar to the Penn State community urged me to “look around, look around” at the sprinkling of purple and gray in the stands. While the showing of visual support made clear how Penn State will remember Kayla, the enthusiasm and sincerity behind it truly filled our hearts.

With that in mind (and heart), we want to thank a few groups specifically:

To the doctors, nurses, and staff at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center — Kayla did not want to go anywhere else for her surgery and treatment, and the compassion, attention, and care we received was nothing short of incredible.

To Nittanyville, Penn State Athletics, the Family Clothesline, and Old State Clothing — your spirit, generosity, and enthusiasm reminds us of Kayla every day.

To Dr. John Waters and the rest of the Penn State faculty — your dedication made it possible for Kayla to achieve one of her biggest goals in graduating from Penn State’s Eberly College of Science.

To the Penn State and State College media — losing a loved one means facing the fear that their time with us may be forgotten. Your beautiful words and photos have put this fear to rest for us.

To the THON community — what else can we say but thank you? You fill us with courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength.

And, finally, to the Penn State Blue Band — a new friend with common ground rooted in loss said of your support: “They will take you in and they will not let you go. Embrace them, and let them embrace you.” I am not sure more perfect words could describe what you all mean to us.

The day after I met Kayla in January 2012, the phrase “we’ll take it from here” became a rallying cry for Penn Staters everywhere to carry on the legacy of Joe Paterno.

Thank you, Penn State, for making sure that Kayla’s legacy will also live on.

With love,

The Nakonechni family and John Tecce

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