Our dear friend and Student State Representative Izzy G. passed away at age 11 last month following a brain hemorrhage. As we remember her legacy, we’re honored to share more about Izzy as our Student of the Month.
In her hometown of Hanover, Pennsylvania, Izzy was known by her friends and family as a shining light in a dark world. Having battled depression, anxiety and OCD for two years, Izzy was a role model for anyone facing challenges. Her resilience was inspiring, showing others how to tackle mental health issues successfully.
“I choose to Be Strong in my community by sharing my mental health journey with other kids my age,” Izzy said. “I don’t want anyone to feel alone while they battle depression, anxiety or feelings of suicide. I’ve been in their shoes and had those super dark feelings.”
She was particularly passionate about suicide prevention, insistent on helping others learn coping skills and change their outlook on even the darkest of days.
“Everyone has bad days,” Izzy said. “Some bad days might be worse than others, but taking your life is not the answer. If you think that everyone would be better off without you, that’s not true. I bet that there are at least a thousand people that care for you, even if you don’t fit in. Suicide is not the answer and you are valued.”
This Be Strong Student State Representative will be remembered as a leader who stood up for others at every turn. As a role model, she practiced kindness in every interaction.
“Kindness can make the difference in someone’s life,” Izzy said. “If I can make a difference in one person’s life, then I will definitely do it!”
Before her passing, Izzy was inspired by her growing excitement around service dogs. She wanted to have a service dog of her own and to grow up to train service dogs one day. She even set a goal of pairing every kid in need with a service dog to help them.
Izzy’s uplifting mission of helping others was empowered by her own experiences growing up. Having been bullied before, she knew how it felt and worked with empathy to help those struggling.
“No one deserves to be bullied,” Izzy said. “It doesn’t matter their skin color, gender, sexuality or religion. My parents raised me to love everyone the same.”
And while being the bigger person isn’t always easy, Izzy knew that it was always worth it. She had a level of faith and purpose uncommon for her age, which helped her be strong in helping others.