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Four years of love

Community reaches out as Colonie family mourns daughter

Four-year-old Rita Rizk with her mother, Michella. Michella described her daughter as "the happiest kid that I ever met in my life."

Four-year-old Rita Rizk with her mother, Michella. Michella described her daughter as "the happiest kid that I ever met in my life." Submitted Photo

— Unfortunately, the Rizks did not know about the outreach program before — the Outreach Center could have been a help during Rita’s treatment. Michella Rizk said part of the financial struggle included trips back and forth from Colonie to Boston. Michella Rizk also lived by her daughter’s bedside at the hospital for two years.

“I wish there was more awareness (about the) support in our community. I wish we knew about (the Outreach Center) before,” she said. “I really want to thank them for being by our sides right now.”

She added the spontaneous support has been amazing, as well. Since she was constantly traveling to Boston, Michella never got to know her neighbors. When they found out about Rita’s death, her neighbors and other families planted flowers on her front lawn.

Through the ups and downs of Rita’s recovery, Michella Rizk said the years with her daughter were “the best four years of my life.”

“Me and my husband were struggling for five years to try to have a baby and finally she came and she changed our lives big time. We knew before (she was born) she would have a heart defect. The doctors kept pushing us to terminate the pregnancy. We thought when she was born she wasn’t gonna make it. But God gave us this miracle,” she said.

And whenever she sees a ladybug, Michella thinks of her daughter. She said the good luck token was a part of Rita’s life ever since one of the nurses at the hospital brought her ladybug earrings for Christmas. It was only a few weeks later that the family got the call the perfect heart was found for Rita’s transplant.

“She’s our ladybug,” Michella Rizk said. “She loved everyone. She just loved life. She loved to be happy.”

To learn more about Rita Rizk’s life, visit her Facebook page, “Rita’s Love Bugs.” To make a donation, contact the Village of Colonie Outreach Center at 218-1030.

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