Wilson, N.C. — The Wilson community rallied around the family of 1-year-old baby who died while awaiting a heart transplant with a memorial and fundraiser Saturday.
The story of Korah Jayde Darak, who was born with a congenital heart defect, captured national attention as she and her family faced numerous obstacles to fight her illness.
At just seven days old, the infant underwent her first open heart surgery. Last month, at 14 months old, she died.
Through it all, said Korah's mother Crystal Darak, the people of Wilson offered overwhelming support.
"They have reached out and done fundraisers and fed us and have been there just to listen to us cry or laugh," Crystal Darak said. "It's been amazing all the support we've gotten from them."
Friends of the Darak family said the little girl captured their hearts.
"We believe she impacted every one of us in a special way. She left behind a memory we will all cherish," said family friend Buffy Poole, who helped organize the memorial fundraiser. "She was an absolute joy to be around."
Baby Korah was also remembered by the medical team at Duke University Hospital, where she was treated in the four months leading up to her death.
"(She) had just a wonderful, wonderful personality, which was amazing," said nurse Colleen O'Brien. "(She was an) amazing little girl, just the biggest, most beautiful eyes and the biggest smile you could ever imagine."
The proceeds from Saturday's memorial will help the Darak family pay for outstanding medical and travel expenses.
Jayson Darak, Korah's father, left the Marine Corps when his daughter was born but has returned to work as a contractor in Afghanistan to support the family.