The Neverending Story

'The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire.'
--John N Mitchell

We set up this website in late October for our wonderful, inquisitive, loving Aiyana. Yana is our eight year old daughter, sister, cousin, niece, friend and granddaughter who was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of leukemia (MPAL).

Aiyana had an amazing life and we are filled with hundreds of heartwarming memories. May all of us take to heart how much a little girl from Lockeford, CA, impacted the world and be reminded and inspired to never let the sun go down without living each day all the way through.

Her Spirit is in every Butterfly.


Books to Remember

The original idea to have the Lodi Sentinel at the Dedication Ceremony was to share the remarkable commitment of a small school to one of its fallen children, so touched by their outpouring of love that we felt it newsworthy. But the reporter mixed up some (read: all) of the story and so here is how it should have been plus Aiyana's mom's letter to the paper. Hey, they tried...

Books to remember: A correction from us — a note from Korina Self
Saturday, May 22, 2010 6:09 AM PDT

The caption for photos published on Page 8 of Friday's News-Sentinel stated that Jim and Korina Self donated $4,000 in books to Washington School. That information is incorrect. The Selfs donated the nameplates and stickers to be inserted in the 271 books. The money for the books was raised through a fundraiser called Coins for Aiyana in memory of the Selfs' late daughter, Aiyana. Students from Washington School brought coins to fill water bottles. The generosity flooded into the community as people left coins in bags on the Selfs' doorstep, a chef in San Francisco held a dinner and donated proceeds in honor of Aiyana.

Aiyana Self lived with cerebral palsy. On Nov. 24, 2009, she died after a short battle with leukemia. She was 8. Following is a letter to the News-Sentinel, and the community, from Korina Self:

"I know you asked me for a specific list of contributors to the "Coins for Aiyana" book but creating a list to give credit where credit is due would be impossible, because so many were involved ... from private citizens from as far away as San Francisco and as far south as Exeter, to community groups and organizations who were moved by Aiyana's life and decided to give.

"The bigger picture was how a school and its community pulled together and made a difference and helped in the healing of my family's broken hearts. ... leukemia may have taken our daughter from us physically, but it was very apparent to everyone in attendance at the book dedication that her spirit is very much alive in all of us.

"The students of George Washington School are so amazing and gave straight from the heart. Every penny raised was because they loved Aiyana and wanted to be a part of something wonderful, and they were. There is no greater gift than that.

"Mrs. Horner and Mrs. Kielhold, truly amazing teachers and my personal friends, came up with the idea of a coin drive to honor Aiyana's life and share her love of reading with the students at the school. Their idea was to purchase books with the money raised and place a bookplate in each cover to identify each book as a "Coins for Aiyana" book. They called me and shared this idea with me. I thought "What a wonderful idea," and "Coins for Aiyana" was off and running.

"We were not the donors, but the recipients of this heartfelt effort. Although we helped in the coin drive, the bigger picture is how our community and the students of Washington School took our family's tragedy and showed us that good can come from even the death of our child. My family received the gift of giving. Right down to the preschooler at Washington School who collected pennies and placed them in the jar in their classroom...

"The point of inviting the Lodi News-Sentinel to the book dedication was to share with our extended community that from tragedy, miracles can happen. Every child needs to know that they can make a difference and that a small gesture of giving can ignite a community to do great things.In light of all of the tragedy that surrounds us every day, this was a story of hope, of kindness, of love and compassion and giving. My family received all of these gifts and more, and Aiyana blessed us all. "(KS)

The photograph of Aiyana Self is displayed on a table with books her classmates at Washington School raised money for in her honor.

The money for the books, $4,000, was raised through a fundraiser called Coins for Aiyana.


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