Catlin was a person with autism. She wasn't handicapped, and she was not a disabled person. The person comes first, not the other way around. Catlin always wanted to be a Taekwondo Master (5th degree) and practiced Taekwondo for over 12 years.
At 8:30 PM April 27, 2018, Catlin tested for, and passed her test for 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo. One year later, to the exact hour, Catlin collapsed. By the time the ambulance arrived, she was talking, which Justyna (her mother) and I thought was a good sign. While the ambulance was taking her to the ER, she had a second episode.
90 minutes later, Catlin, our daughter, the dearest soul who gave our life meaning, had died. An entire ER staff had worked non-stop to try and save her, but she had been torn from our lives.
Before this, there was no warning anything might be wrong with Catlin. Her regular doctor had just conducted her annual wellness visit. Her specialist doctors had not noticed or mentioned anything. No one could tell us what had happened to Catlin. We had to wait for a medical examiner to determine what had happened.
Three days later we were given Catlin's cause of death. She had died from a pulmonary embolism. Everyone who knew Catlin was shocked. Catlin spent 60 minutes everyday on her treadmill. She practiced Taekwondo at least 6 days a week. She would do every single one of her Taekwondo taegeuks (forms) daily, and she knew 10 complete forms. She was determined not to forget lower level forms in her pursuit of being a Master.
It was expected, sudden, and devastating. No warnings, no signs, not even a single complaint from our angel. She is gone from our lives.
For 21 years we dedicated every moment and resource to Catlin. We are lost without her.
Early on, there was a GoFundMe campaign setup for Catlin by her Taekwondo instructor. We did not mind as he had been her instructor for 12 years. However, it was setup before we knew what had happened and some the information he posted was incorrect.
I did a post on to that campaign to explain to everyone what we had learned and to correct the incorrect information. Sadly, her instructor took this as an attack and decided to delete my post about Catlin. GoFundMe also looked into the campaign to make sure Justyna and I were set to receive any funds made in Catlin's name. Sadly, when GoFundMe released the campaign after the forms were completed, the campaign honoring her memory was deleted.
Catlin saw no evil in the world and trusted everyone. I remember trying to explain computer viruses to her once, and she wanted to know why anyone would want to do something bad like that.
Funds donated in Catlin's memory will be used to hold a celebration of her life. Catlin was always loving and happy and liked simple things. She loved her Taekwondo, streaming videos on her computer, swimming in her pool in the summer, and when she attended therapy, her dance class. She played baseball every year with The Challengers, a team for children with special needs.
The funds donated in Catlin's memory will be used to do something Catlin would love. We will hold celebration of her life outside at Catlin's house with those few people who were blessed enough to know our darling daughter.
Catlin was stuck living in hotels and travel trailers since Hurricane Michael destroyed her home on Oct 10, 2018, and it will forever pain us that she never got to see repairs on the house completed and get to move back into her home. However, when repairs are finally complete, any remaining funds from the celebration of her life will be used to build a memorial garden here at Catlin's home because she did always like to smell pretty flowers. We will fill it with flowers, My Little Ponies, Poppy the Troll, and anything we can think of that made her laugh.
If anyone wants to donate towards a Celebration of Catlin's life and her memorial garden, it will be greatly appreciated. For anyone who is worried about donations from the prior campaign, those funds will go toward the projects honoring Catlin's memory, thanks to GoFundMe's Support Team
Anyone who would like to be notified of when Catlin's celebration of life will be held is encouraged to contact Catlin's Aunt Triciaanna (Justyna's sister). Despite being crushed by the loss of Catlin, Tricia has been the one helping my wife and I try to get though each day. Anyone can call or text Tricia for more information at (85O)89O-2534.