Pastor Chuck Winter of Sunnyside, Washington, and Judy Daniels of the Grace College communications staff have alerted us to the story of Krista Artz, who was a junior at Grace College (social work major) during the fall semester. Krista, 20, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in December and is currently at home in Grandview, Washington. She is undergoing chemotherapy, which will last through August.
The Yakima (WA) Herald Republic ran a feature story on Krista and her fiancée last week. It’s an amazing story of two young people and their families who are dealing with cancer, but also looking forward to a wedding in August. If you’d like to read the story, go to http://www.yakimaherald.com/page/search_archive?p=search and type in “Krista Artz” in the Search Archives or click here. Please keep Krista and her family in your prayers.
Here are a few paragraphs from the story, which ran in the Yakima paper on February 8:
When Krista Artz first got sick, she blamed love.
You know, losing weight, night sweats. Love.
“I didn’t think much of it,” says the 20-year-old Grandview High School graduate. She figured it was stress from college and the heartache of a long-distance relationship – “being in love.”
Turns out it was cancer. Hodgkin’s disease.
Giggling, daily phone calls, homemade cookies, cross-country marriage proposals.Those were symptoms of love, and this Valentine’s Day, Krista and her fiance, Jared DeJong, 21, have a bad case.
It’s hard to believe Jared and Krista never met as kids. Their families live less than a mile from each other. His bus, on its way to Sunnyside Christian High School, must have passed her house every morning as she waited for her own ride to Grandview High School.
Jared, a lanky, studious son of a dairy farmer, went off to Whitworth College in Spokane. Krista, a bubbly cheerleader with little interest in a serious boyfriend, headed to Grace College, a small liberal arts school and seminary in Winona Lake, Ind.
In August 2005, Krista took some courses from Yakima Valley Community College and worked at the Movie Gallery in Grandview. Jared, on the other hand, frequented the Safeway movie rental counter. But one night, sometime after 10 p.m., when the Safeway’s counter had closed, he stepped into the Movie Gallery.
Neither of them remembers the movie he rented, but he kept coming back.
That fall, Jared returned to college while Krista stayed in Grandview and took more YVCC courses. He returned home most weekends to visit his family, friends and, as time went on, her.
About this time last year, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, they began dating.
By the summer of 2006, Jared and Krista had turned into that cute couple whom everybody knows. They baked cookies, took up in-line skating and giggled about their quirky adventures.
Honey, remember that time we provided our own M&Ms for a Blizzard because Dairy Queen didn’t have any? Good times.
Still, Krista somehow managed that fall to detach herself from her beau’s hip and return to Grace College. Jared, of course, went back to Spokane for his senior year at Whitworth, well on his way to a double major in computer science and business management.
But Jared would not let 2,000 miles interrupt the romance. He had a plan. He called her friends, her roommates and her boss at the nearby tanning salon. He shipped a new dress and earrings. He cashed in a friend’s frequent flyer miles.
He made sure Krista had the night off. He pre-positioned friends in her dorm room for a “girls night” of movies and popcorn. Krista had no idea.
“I thought it was really neat,” recalls Erica Todd, one of Krista’s roommates and one of Jared’s co-conspirators. “She was expecting it to happen when she got home at some point.”
On the night of Oct. 27, 2006, Jared knocked on her door, dropped down on one knee and asked her to marry him in front of a chorus of applauding young women huddled in the Indiana Hall dormitory.
Love. For a girl as giddy as Krista, what else could night sweats and losing 28 pounds in a matter of months be?
Krista and Jared next saw each other Nov. 18 in Grandview for a weeklong Thanksgiving break. Two days later she woke up in the middle of the night, her pajamas so soaked with sweat she could wring them out.
Love doesn’t cause that. “So frustrating,” she recalls. “I knew something was wrong.”