Tiffin University students are continuing a legacy of helping others that was left behind by a senior who died earlier this year.
Taylor Funk, a 22-year-old West Salem resident who had studied hospitality management, was diagnosed with leukemia Dec. 20 and died Jan. 20, less than four months before commencement.
Students organized activities for a celebration of life event for Funk, and proceeds are to go to Leukemia Research Foundation. The event included music, performances, food, cornhole, a bake sale, a balloon launch, luminary decorating, a candlelight vigil, a scrapbooking activity and a walk.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
People prepare balloons for a balloon launch at Tiffin University Wednesday evening. To view more photos from this event, visit cu.advertiser-tribune.com.
Dave Funk, Taylor's father, said it was heartwarming to know TU was not going to forget her. The event, he said, was a heartfelt gesture and meant a lot to his family.
Funk's mother, Charlotte, two aunts and a friend also attended the event.
"We're glad we came. ... It all helps with the pain," Dave said.
Funk was set to graduate in May but did not return to campus for the spring semester because of her illness. Dave said the family is planning to attend the commencement ceremony May 5 to accept her degree.
She was looking forward to graduation, yet wasn't ready to leave, he said.
Dave said his daughter loved being at TU, said it felt like home and knew the first time she toured campus that it was where she wanted to attend college. Her family always was proud of her, he said.
"She always set goals. ... She had a 4.0 (grade point) average," he said.
Matt Taylor, a senior from Sandusky studying psychology, helped organize Wednesday's event. He said Funk was one of the first people he met at TU. He described her as a caring and genuine person and said he rarely saw her in a bad mood.
The goal of Wednesday's event was to raise $500, and the event and preceding activities had raised more than $1,000 before the event was over. Taylor said he was pleased with the turnout.
"Everyone stepped up in a way, so it's a really good feeling," he said.
Jessica Milligan, a senior from Sugar Grove studying management and accounting, helped Taylor with the planning. She said Funk was shy out on the outside, yet was outgoing and wasn't afraid to have fun.
"We lost a best friend," Taylor said.
Gene Chintala, assistant professor of political science and national security studies, said Funk was the president of Circle K. When she was around, people were nice to each other, and her legacy was that she treated everyone equally, he said.
"Taylor was genuinely nice," he said.