Updated: 01/13/2014 5:49 PM
Created: 01/13/2014 5:39 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
For a girl who's been sick almost her whole life, Mara Krysiak had a strong spirit.
"Her mantra was, 'I got this'," family friend Stephanie Evans said. "She never felt like she wasn't going to beat this."
Krysiak was diagnosed in kindergarten with an inherited heart condition. Her body rejected the first heart transplant and she was left with a mechanical heart.
While waiting for a second transplant, Evans said she died Monday morning at hospital near Milwaukee. She said fluid filled Krysiak's lungs after a yeast infection in her blood.
While Krysiak dealt with the heart condition for years, she never let it keep her from being a kid. Evans described Krysiak as feisty.
"She always had a smile on her face," Evans said. "She loved to fish."
Krysiak's death comes just two days after a benefit was held in her name at Kom-On-Inn in Duluth.
"That turnout was unbelievable," Evans said. "We did not expect that many."
The support didn't stop there. When news of her death spread, there was an outpouring of love shared on the Team Mara Facebook page.
"You just don't realize how many people a small one can touch," Evans said. "We need to make sure we're there for her mom now."
Mara's mother, Heather, suffers from the same heart condition and is still recovering from her own heart transplant. A fight the two hoped to battle together.
"She and her mom were going to get their hearts and go and do those mother-daughter things they always wanted to do together," Evans said.
While it's too late for that, Evans hopes Krysiak's legacy lives on encouraging people to be organ donors.
Evans said no funeral plans have been set, but expects something to be held at St. Francis in Superior.
If you want to donate to the family, a fund is set up Superior Choice Credit Union.
Complaint: Robbery Turned Homicide Puts Five in Custody
The Superior Police Department arrested five individuals for their involvement in a Superior homicide. New details were released in the criminal complaint Thursday.
Local Specialist Asks Northlanders to 'Stay Calm' Regarding Recent Ebola Case in U.S.
Health officials are on high alert after the first case of Ebola in the United States. The patient, a man who traveled to the U.S. from Liberia, is in isolation at a Dallas hospital on Wednesday.
Police: Missing Teen Found, No Abduction Took Place
The Duluth Police Department says that the teenager allegedly pulled into a minivan on Wednesday afternoon against her will near Denfeld High School has been located.
Essar Steel Minnesota Closes Financing to Complete Mine, Pellet Plant
Essar Steel Minnesota announced they have completed their financing for their project in Nashwauk, and that construction will be ramping up.
McFadden and Franken Clash on Mining, Health Care
Candidates for U.S. Senate debated in Duluth on Wednesday. Things started off fairly friendly between Democratic Senator Al Franken and his Republican challenger, Mike McFadden.