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.
Robotics Team Rebuilds Message on Alcohol Prevention
The fierce FIRST Robotics competition kicked off at the DECC on Friday. Teams learn all kinds of science and technical skills building the bots, but this year one team is pushing drug and alcohol prevention too.
Hermantown Returns to the State A Championship
The Hawks defeated New Prague 4-2 in the State A Semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center.
Air Pollution Health Alert for Much of Northland
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air pollution health alert for much of the Northland, including Duluth, the Iron Range, and east-central Minnesota. Conditions are expected to improve by evening.
Fewer Minnesotans 'Underwater' on Mortgages
The number of Minnesota home owners who owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth has declined.
Fond du Lac Band to Spear Walleyes
The Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa says it plans to exercise its treaty rights for the first time to spear walleyes on northeastern Minnesota lakes this spring.