Ricky Mlodzik
Ricky Mlodzik

   Lately the Commonwealth has run several pieces about people who, upon their death, made gifts to others: Dennis Valstad’s $500,000 to funeral attendees; Pat Wood’s request for unwrapped toys for needy local youth; and of course, every one listed in its obituaries who ask folks to make donations in lieu of flowers.

   These tend to be people in the sunset of their lives.

   Erika “Riky” Mlodzik, 25, was still enjoying the sunrise when she died a year and a month ago at the University Hospital in Madison

   Upon Riky’s passing, her family had memorials sent to Make-A-Wish Wisconsin’s Appleton office.

   Late last year, the organization that grants transformative wishes for critically ill children gave a gold star to Riky’s parents, Ripon residents Rick and Ann Mlodzik.

   On that gold star was an engraved name: Ashleigh.

   Ashleigh, whose last name Make-A-Wish keeps confidential, is a 17-year-old with moyamoya disease, a rare, progressive blood-vessel disorder ...

   Although the Mlodziks possess the Ashleigh gold star, they view themselves as trustees of a gold star by all those who give so that others may live, or at least, live a little longer or a little more vibrantly ...

Read the full editorial in the Jan. 9, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.