Loving Brahma passes away too soon

LIGHTING UP THE WORLD - Candles, posters, flowers, and gifts were left near the flag pole by various students in
memory of Danika Tibayan. The candles were lit and relit all throughout the night.

Benjamin Hsueh

LIGHTING UP THE WORLD - Candles, posters, flowers, and gifts were left near the flag pole by various students in memory of Danika Tibayan. The candles were lit and relit all throughout the night.

It was just the night before Thanksgiving, when Diamond Bar High School senior Danika Tibayan was rushed to the Pomona Valley Hospital after having a severe asthma attack; results were not optimistic.

Doctors were able to get her heart pumping shortly after arriving at the hospital and Tibayan was put in a hyper thermal state. On Nov. 28, Tibayan had her first brain scan. Two additional brain scans were conducted in the following days, but all three pronounced her brain dead. On Nov. 30, Tibayan passed away at age 17.

When students found out about Tibayan’s situation, many were confident that she was going to pull through. No one really realized how serious her situation was until the brain scan results were released. “When we, [DBHS cheer team], were at the hospital for the prayer session, that was when it started to hit, and it hit them hard and fast. They were devastated,” Economics teacher and former Cheer Advisor Mary Gaxiola commented.

A friend and teammate to many, Tibayan received wide support from the student body. Two prayer meetings were organized on campus, and students lit candles for Tibayan and placed them around the flag pole at DBHS. A small memorial, of posters, flowers, and candles, was made in honor of Tibayan.

A range of support, from raising funds for the Tibayan family through selling bracelets to wearing purple, Tibayan’s favorite color, were all witnessed on campus. Everyone kept Tibayan in their thoughts, hoping that she would be able to pull through.

Tibayan was one of the very few, if not only, girls who made it straight to Varsity Cheer. She began cheering at DBHS her sophomore year as flyer, and returned to the team senior year. But besides being a remarkable cheerleader at DBHS, Tibayan was also extremely involved in another cheer organization Pacific Coast Magic.

“She was a really good flyer; very talented, a great tumbler too. She kept things light and positive when it was tough practices or when things weren’t going so well. [Cheerleading] was very important to her,” GLC Jenna Maine shared.

No matter how much or little people knew about Tibayan, she was always seen with a wide smile on her face; her bubbly personality always shining through. People shared that Tibayan would sometimes stay up late just to bake for her friends; those were just some of small acts she did. And just as she would do, Tibayan’s family gave seven others a second chance at life by donating her organs. “With Danika, even if I tried to get mad at her, within seconds I couldn’t. She just had a way about her where there was nothing you can do but love her because she always made you laugh. She just had that kind of joking personality,” Maine shared.

Tibayan’s funeral was held in the past weekend at Forest Lawn, Covina Hills. Though Tibayan will continue to be missed, her spirit has truly touched many individuals, not only just the people who knew her but also those who didn’t.

“Danika and I had a special friendship. She was an amazing person inside and out [and had a] huge heart. Her amazing smile that would light up the room will forever be missed,” Nazli Mogtehidi, a close friend, said.

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