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One Smile Can Change The World

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Katie Ann Lunn graduated from High School in 2002 and had many ambitious goals to accomplish in her life time. Not only was she going to take on the world with her amazing talents in dance, but she was going to change the world with her infectious smile and outlook on life. Tragically, Katie’s ambitions and goals were cut short when she was hit by an Amtrak train in Chicago, Illinois. On April 16, 2010, at the age of 22, Katie lost her life. You could tell how much Katie had impacted the world in her little time on earth by the outpouring love from friends who traveled hundreds of miles to make it to her funeral service in Iowa.


When Katie was alive, she made journals and specific lists of rules that she followed to be the best person she could be and I want to share them with you. A message that Katie strived to share with her students and friends was to “fulfill our dreams and never forget to pay it forward.” Katie was a dance teacher in Chicago at the time of her death and had recently written a note to one of her students expressing her philosophy on how to live your life to your full potential. The note said,”As you travel into this part of your life know how beautiful you are...inside and out! Each of us has a reason to be here on Earth and discovering what that is is one of the world’s most enjoyable experiences. Enjoy every moment! Laugh often. Love unconditionally. Inspire youth. Enjoy your passion. Appreciate family, friends, and nature. Remain humble. Keep a journal. DREAM BIG! and know that you are loved! :) smile. Love always, Miss Katie.” After Katie’s death, her family devoted their lives to making sure that their daughters hopes and dreams did not end. They created The Katie Lunn Keep The Smile Alive Memorial Fund. The purpose for it all is to give out scholarships, host dance recitals, send students on cultural exchange trips, and have experiential workshops where they can get a feel at something Katie was so passionate about; dance.


Katie changed my life in more ways than one. She taught me how to be a better person just by observing the way she acted around others. Katie was my role model and someone I looked up to for everything. Katie would light up the whole room just by being there. Her infectious smile and amazing outlook on life always made you strive to be a better person. She truly lived her life to the fullest and never took anything for granted. On the website, it says how Katie knew that true happiness was not measured by what you have, but by the lives that you positively affect. What I ask of you is to smile everyday because you never truly know when your time is coming to an end. The second thing I ask of you is to pay it forward. Constantly strive to make the people you are surrounded by better people just by little acts of kindness. You never know how far a smile can go, so pass it on.



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