For everyone who knew her, Snaigė Zahn has always been an inspiration. For those of you who weren't fortunate enough to have known her, this is your opportunity to learn about her unfair but oh-so-inspiring journey. You can also find more detail on Snaigė’s Instagram account @snaige_an_unexpected_journey. Although she is gone far too soon, she lived by example through it all.
Her story started in the last few months of her pregnancy of her beautiful daughter, Zoë, when she had some bowel changes that can be associated with pregnancy. Snaigė had to push to have further tests done and, in May 2017, the doctors confirmed that she had Stage 4 colorectal cancer. She and her husband, Nate, were just getting used to their new role as parents as Zoë was only 4 months old, working full time, and looking to buy a house.
After 8 months of multiple surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy, Snaigė was told she was cancer free. She had returned to work as a physiotherapist and she and Nate continued to strive for normalcy at home. Unfortunately, routine bloodwork in early summer 2018 showed slightly elevated cancer markers, which her medical team determined was metastases to her lymph nodes and bones. While there was no cure, Snaige planned to fight as hard as she could for as long as she could using any and all available interventions.
The process was gruelling. There were awful treatment side effects, many visits to the hospital, and lots of pain. However, Snaigė never dwelled on her diagnosis; she was always a very strong, positive, energetic, and at times stubborn person. This was the source of her incredible fight and her ongoing hope! To say she lived life to the fullest is an understatement; she packed in as much travel, quality time with loved ones, and joy as she could. She found joy in being the rock for everyone else. It didn’t matter what she had going on, she wanted nothing but happiness for those around her. She was always a ray of sunshine.
Snaigė always made a strong impression on people, and she continues to have a huge impact on those who were blessed to knew her. Everyone can learn from the beautiful way she lived her life: practice gratitude each day; do what you love; say yes more; don’t sweat the small stuff; spend time with those you love; face the unknown head on; eat your veggies; and for heaven’s sakes, GET OUTSIDE!
On October 18th, 2019, Snaigė Talvi Ann Zahn passed away at only 33 years old. There was beautiful autumn sunshine for 3 days afterwards. She will forever be missed, and never forgotten.
Anyone who knows the Zahn family knows how important being outdoors is to them. One of Snaigė’s legacy wishes was to have funds to send Zoë to summer camp, as outdoor camps played such a big role in her and Nate’s lives. This fund is Snaigė’s gift to her 2-year-old daughter, Zoë. Due to Snaigė’s ineligibility for insurance after her diagnosis, it has been financially difficult for the family. All money raised will be put towards Zoë’s summer camp fees.
Often in times of grief, we’re not sure how to help; if you’d like to contribute, please know that you’re investing in Zoë’s future and her mother’s and father’s dreams for their daughter’s lifestyle.
- Heidi Manicke
- Kingston Spartans
- Louise Lewis-James