I, Izabella Phoenix Eckhardt, graced the world with my essence on January 16th, 2004. My first name, Izabella, means God's promise, and my middle name, Phoenix, is a mythical creature that I considered to be my warrior spirit animal. In the hardest moments of my life, I would rise up from the ashes of my challenging circumstances by focusing on faith, hope, and better things to come. Now is no different, after an epic 19ish years, on June 8, 2023, I rose up and danced into the arms of my Savior after ferociously fighting my battle with Pineoblastoma Brain Cancer.
During my life on Earth, I was blessed to serve many roles in the individuals' lives that I loved: I was a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, a "mother" figure (on occasion to those who may not have always appreciated my advice), an old soul, a bright light, a warrior, and a believer.
So how do I describe myself or my life in mere words? Well, my life was way more than the hospital I was born in, the school I graduated from, or where I spent my final day. It was also not defined by the numerous experiences that I will miss, such as my wedding, the births of my children, or the careers that I would have dedicated my talents to. Yes, I wanted all of those things, but what I hope I did do with my 19 beautiful years was make an impact. I embraced every relationship with those God placed in my life and did my best to show his love and light to the world through me.
I loved to dance, sing, draw, paint, act, play board games, and make people laugh. I loved the beach, my whales, and all the marine life I had the pleasure of getting to know. But the most important part of who I was directly relates to all of the amazing people I have met along the way, for each of you changed me for the better. When I loved you, I loved deeply and I hope that all of those that have met me know what a gift they have been to me.
I considered myself to be funny and often handled the tough situations life threw at me with humor. I learned that laughter makes life a better place and even death is still better than a rectal balloon.
I also strived to be a warrior. For me, a warrior is a person who fights for what is right, someone who doesn’t stop working towards their goals, someone who is brave, determined, and loyal.
I was not born a warrior; my character was developed as I faced adversities. The more trials I faced, the more honed my skills became. The times in my life where there were no other paths to choose from and my only option was to forge forward and fight the battle head on, I remained grateful, as each of those moments brought me closer to God.
I was an advocate, an advocate for finding more funding, better treatments, and cures for each pediatric cancer, but more importantly an advocate for the children that have and have had to endure this horrendous disease. My wish was to open a safe haven for the cancer kids' siblings to be supported, cared for, and loved, while being able to be present with their families during their siblings' treatment. I believed that providing counseling, schooling, support groups, and activities during and after their siblings' journeys was missing during my treatment and still affects my family to this day. No siblings should ever be left behind. I never got that chance, but hope that this will come to fruition one day soon.
My siblings say I was caring and nice, humorous, passionate, fiery, bright, fearless, fierce, and kind of a pain in their butt. They also said I brought happiness, growth, strength, and perspective to their lives, but they all brought so much more to mine. I want nothing more than for them to be okay and live long, happy majestic lives until we meet again. Our family is fun, even though it can be a roller coaster, but the best part is we won't give up on each other when times get tough. So take care of each other and live your lives in a way we can be together again…I love you all so much!
I will be waiting in heaven for my mother and father, Miki and Craig Eckhardt; my siblings, TJ, Thomas, Jasmine, Sarah, Azryn, Elexzia, Jaxon, and Lily; my grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and many family and friends. I was greeted in Heaven by all those I loved that passed on before me and some of the strongest fighters I know.
A candlelight vigil will be held at Lake Hastings Park in Hastings, NE, Sunday, June 11, 2023, at 7:48 pm to honor Izabella's life.
Her funeral service will be held Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at the United Methodist Church in Courtland, KS. The family will be greeting guests beginning at 1 pm, prior to Izabella's funeral service which will begin at 2 pm. A graveside service at the Courtland Cemetery and reception will immediately follow.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Izabella Phoenix Eckhardt Memorial. For those who would like to send flowers, arrangements can be made through David's Creations in Belleville, KS to be sent to the Courtland Methodist Church. Hutchins Funeral Home, Franklin, Nebraska and Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home, Belleville, Kansas assisted Izabella’s family with these arrangements.