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ISSUE 116 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/11/2003

Student loses battle with cancer

By Jane Dudzinski
News Editor

Friday, April 11, 2003

Sarah Ferguson ’05 died Monday after her long battle with cancer.

An English and American studies major, Ferguson was first diagnosed with her disease at the beginning of the school year. In early October, she had to leave St. Olaf and went home to Chisago City, Minn. to fight her illnes.

One of her close friends, Kirsten Griffin ’05, who first met Ferguson when they were first-year students living in Kittlesby, reflected upon the time she knew Ferguson with fondness and warmth.

"She was the most upbeat person I had ever met," Griffin said. "We all had a nickname for her: Sunny."

Even as Ferguson’s illness progressed throughout the course of the school year, Griffin recalled her friend’s positive attitude and inner strength that she witnessed time and time again.

"I have so many memories of visiting her," Griffin said. "She would crack jokes no matter what she was going through, no matter how bad she was feeling. Even throughout her entire illness, I never saw her cry."

Although Ferguson had to leave behind her classes and her extra-curricular activities, including writing for the Manitou Messenger and the yearbook, many of her friends visited regularly.

Earlier during second semester, Ferguson’s friends planned a surprise birthday party for her at St. Olaf, which was her first trip back to the campus since she had left in October.

At the party, the Limestones peformed and her friends presented her with a video with greetings from numerous friends and classmates.

In an e-mail sent to the student body on Tuesday, Campus Pastor Bruce Benson informed students that in the last week of her life, Ferguson told her parents that she was not afraid of dying, but rather waiting to die. Highlighting that, she broke into a song to cheer up her family members during her last moments of life. Benson commended her strength and spirit.

"From all I’ve been able to learn about Sarah I’d say we are honored that she wanted to be a student here," Benson wrote in the e-mail.

Other memories Griffin cherishes include Ferguson’s birthday party during freshman year in the twin cities and going skiing with Ferguson at a ski resort near her home, where she was a ski instructor.

Ferguson’s funeral will be held on Sun., April 13 at 3 pm at the First United Methodist Church in Lindstrom, MN.

An on-campus memorial service is currently being planned for the future.

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