Just over a week ago, Aimee Falcon posted a photo of a sunrise on Facebook, and with it this message: “If you wish to honor me, take time out of your morning’s, look out side, Go sit on your porch, watch the world wake, take your children, show them the beautiful opportunity that comes with each new day, for none of us are promised tomorrow.”
The Scotia native, who had been battling medical problems since 2007, died Monday night. She was 34.
Inspired by her Facebook post, a group gathered at sunrise today in Collins Park in Scotia to honor her memory.
To honor Aimee Falcon, post your photo of a sunrise on Facebook, with the hashtag #honoraimee
Elizabeth Kulkus of Cranesville, a friend since childhood, helped organize the tribute through social media.
“I pulled up at like five-after-six to the library [next to the park] and I lost my breath because the parking lot was full of cars. I got out of my car and it’s completely dead silent and the sun is just starting to break,” she said. “When the sun finally started coming up, people started hugging and talking.”
Another close friend, Keri Hladik of Rotterdam Junction, was there too.
“It was emotional, but it was also very calm and very peaceful to watch the sunrise with others who are grieving — people you know, people you don’t know — and just seeing everybody honoring her. It was moving. It was powerful,” she said.
Another sunrise gathering was held this morning at Lock 8, along the Mohawk River, Aimee’s mother, LouAnn, said.
People from across the country who could not gather this morning have been paying tribute to Falcon on Facebook, posting photos of sunrises from wherever they are, with the hashtag #honoraimee. Kulkus counted 90 posts by 8 a.m. then stopped keeping track.
A 1999 graduate of Scotia-Glenville High School, Falcon was a gifted athlete who played for the high school softball team.
“She always wanted to be in any sport she could be, and she was,” her mother recalled.
Falcon also had a passion for rescuing and rehabilitating animals. She volunteered at the Animal Protective Foundation during high school and had hoped to one day have a part in developing braces and mobility aids for animals.
She graduated from the University of Vermont as a certified athletic trainer and worked as a trainer at Brown University. When school was out for the summer, she performed medical support for the Quebec Avalanche women’s hockey team. After her job at Brown ended, she worked part time as an athletic trainer for Ballston Spa High School and also worked at Schenectady Regional Orthopedic Associates.
In 2007, Falcon contracted a severe infection following shoulder repair surgery. It lasted more than a year, robbing her of the use of her left arm. From then on, she battled recurring infections and chronic pain, and underwent approximately 70 surgeries. She suffered a major cardiac arrest in November of 2014 but fought back from it.
Her friends said Falcon was always a fighter.
“She was so resilient,” said Kulkus. “No matter how many times she got knocked down or lost a game or got hurt, she was the first person to say, ‘Let’s do it again,’ every time.”
“There were times when she was really sick and she still kept fighting,” said lifelong friend Amber Angilletta of Scotia. “She was such an inspiration.
Hladik described Falcon as a warrior.
“Whatever she did, she excelled at, no matter what it was, be it sports, academics. We were in band together. We were trumpet buddies. She was always better than me at that but she was never one to gloat or want recognition,” she recalled.
Even while in the hospital, Falcon pursued her passion to help animals. She reached out via social media to facilitate animal rescues.
She helped fellow hospital patients as well.
“Here she was, an inpatient so sick, and she saw someone coming in limping and she would diagnose them and give them exercises,” her mother recalled with a laugh.
Falcon came home Monday afternoon from a two-week hospital stay and died that night, her mother said. The cause of her death is still not known.
Hladik said she hopes people will remember Falcon’s message to appreciate life.
“That’s all she wanted in this world, was everybody to love and appreciate what we have in the moment we have it,” she said.
Calling hours will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Glenville Funeral Home, 9 Glenridge Road. A memorial service will take place at 4 p.m. that day at the funeral home.