I am still in shock and denial about the news of Clara’s passing. Not just because I had texted with her the night before, but because of the manner in which it happened. Clara was killed this morning while riding her bicycle home from the hospital, after working her shift throughout the night. She was struck by a motorcyclist and transported back to the hospital she had just left.
Here is the link describing the incident.
The article describes what a devoted nurse Clara was, working the frontlines during COVID. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Clara knew she was so much more than that. She had the biggest heart and lived her life to care for others; not just in her work but in her personal life as well. She was that friend who would reach out when you’re feeling down or sick to make sure you’re doing okay. When my mom was really sick, Clara called me frequently to check up on how she was doing. That’s just who she was, always making an effort to be there in times of need. Aside from her huge heart, Clara had the most positive spirit that drew people in. She had the passion for traveling to places she’d never been before and the drive to achieve the most out of life.
This news is tragic and heartbreaking, and my thoughts and prayers are with Clara’s sister, Kristine, her mother, and her boyfriend, Diaphel, while they have to do the unimaginable and difficult task in setting up Clara’s service. I know Clara’s circle of friends and family spread far and wide beyond the US to Korea and Costa Rica, so I’m hoping you’ll pass this along to others who knew her, and contribute to Clara’s family to help support them during this time.
Update: due to the overwhelming success of this GoFundMe, I have been asked to clarify a few things, by GoFundMe:
Who I am: my name is Elaine Lee and I went to undergrad with Clara at UW. I met her in the beginning of Sophomore year and we hit it off right away. I met the intended recipient of these funds, Kristine Kang, Clara’s sister, while she was visiting Clara at UW. Kristine was the one to notify me the day of Clara’s tragic death. Kris and Clara were as close as sisters could be. Whenever I spoke with Clara, there was never a time that Kris’ name wouldn’t be brought up, whether it was giving me updates about how Kris’ wedding planning was going or details about a trip the two were going on.
These incredibly generous contributions to the Kang family are intended to support them during this time of planning a funeral service for Clara, in the midst of a pandemic, and in New York, where a funeral service can become quite costly. There are many other costs that these contributions will take care of: hospital expenses (Clara was rushed to the hospital after the accident), travel costs for family who had to travel from Costa Rica or Korea to get to New York quickly, and food, to name a few.
Before even setting up this GoFundMe, I asked for and received permission from Kristine to do so. So as not to burden The Kang family with setting up the withdrawal and all the extra verification steps (more steps added whenever this fund reaches another stage of success), I set up the withdrawal to my personal checking account to then transfer the total sum to Kristine’s account. Kristine has authorized me to deliver the money to her and her family outside of GoFundMe.
Thank you to everyone for being so generous with your support and contributions to the Kang family. From donations of $10 all the way up to $1,000; every single one of you has helped achieve far beyond the goal and what I had expected. Only goes to show what a special light Clara was in so many people’s lives.
- Thomas Kim