CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY — Comstock Park sophomore Kaelyn Carson died Sunday from anorexia nervosa complications.
After suffering from the eating disorder for about 18 months, Carson had a heart attack and died in her home at age 20.
The Carson family is requesting people who wish to donate money to send it to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders in memory of their daughter.
They hope to aid others recover from eating disorders and prevent other families from experiencing the grief of losing a child.
“Our intent is hopefully other kids struggling with the same thing will benefit from the good that comes out of this, whatever it may be,” said Michael Carson, her father.
“She was very headstrong,” he said. “Very outgoing; very bubbly. She loved to have fun. She was also very direct with people.”
Carson was part of the teacher education program while attending CMU – a university she was very fond of. She wanted to teach elementary school students after she earned her degree.
“She was dedicated to whatever she did,” Carson said. “She cared an awful lot about other people. She loved Central, she absolutely loved it. She loved being there going to school there.”
Carson received leadership and track scholarships to attend CMU. She was also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
A competitive dancer for more than 15 years, Carson was also involved in the Miss America Scholarship Organization.
“She started dancing when she was three. She danced competitively all over the state and out of state. She went to Europe for two weeks and danced over there. Both she and her sister (Jordan Carson, Comstock Park senior) decided to get involved with pageants, not for the beauty aspect but for performing and dancing. We only allowed them to do one pageant a year, so they had to pick and choose which ones they wanted to participate in.”
The scholarships rewarded to pageant participants was also an incentive for Carson to get involved.
For an upcoming pageant, Carson had planned to include eating disorders in her next platform in addition to cultural diversity.
While attending Comstock Park High School, Carson was known for her strong personality and dedication.
“Anytime anyone wanted something done at school and they needed a leader, they called on Kaelyn to get it done. There was no doubt that once she was put it charge, she got it done,” Michael Carson said.
“She was a role model. Even her own classmates said she was a role model for them.”
Carson had also won many Comstock Park Scholarships and awards.
A Service of remembrance will take place at 11 a.m. today at the Calvary Church, 777 E. Beltline, N.E., in Grand Rapids with the Rev. Marvin Williams officiating.
She was preceded in death by a grandfather, Smith Carson. Surviving are her parents, Michael and Brenda Carson; sister, Jordan Carson; maternal grandparents, Gerald and Elsie Westall; paternal grandmother, Joyce Carson; many aunts, uncles and cousins.