MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A teacher from Ramsey is being remembered for her strength.
Angela Olsen fought a three-year battle with brain cancer. She died last week at just 37 years old.
She was a wife, a mother and a school teacher at Evergreen Elementary in Brooklyn Center.
A place where Olsen volunteered is now a place where her life is celebrated.
Inside Zion Lutheran Church in Anoka, her family and friends remember a young woman who had many gifts. Her mother, Kristin Saless, says Angie was great with kids.
“She would get down to their level, but yet she was firm and they knew what to expect,” Saless said. “I respected her and admired her and was so proud to be her mom.”
Her father, Allen Saless, says she also was good with her hands.
“If something needed to be fixed or made, she’d figure out how to do it,” Allen said.
There seemed to be no limit to her cake-decorating skills. From making birthday cakes to wedding cakes, it was one of the ways Angie showed love.
Three years ago, after picking up her son and daughter from camp, Angie had a seizure. Doctors discovered a brain tumor.
“She said, ‘I can’t die now, I’m too busy to die,'” her brother, Michael Saless, said. “She fought the fight better than anyone I’ve ever heard of.”
Angie named her tumor “Murphy,” but rarely spoke of it or her cancer treatments, even as she began to go blind.
“She loved to read. She had hundreds and hundreds of books,” Shelly Binfet, her close friend, said. “And the only thing she said was, ‘I’m really going to miss reading.'”
Another close friend, Melissa Hoff, said her daughter looked up to Angie and respected her bold honesty.
“She said to me, ‘Well, if Angie is not here, then who’s going to tell me when I’m messing up? [laughs]'” Melissa said.
Her cousin, Heather Lincoln, said Angie believed she would win her battle with cancer.
“Up until the last probably week, there wasn’t any other option. It was just going to be, ‘We’re going to keep moving ahead. Every time they offer me the next treatment, I’m going to take it until they don’t have one anymore,'” Heather said.
Angie will be remembered for her optimism and resilience, and for serving as a reminder of what’s important.
“Make time to do the small things,” Michael said. “Go and spend time with your loved ones. Everyone’s busy, but you got to make the time.”
Angie’s family tells us she would often say, “You can’t always choose what happens to you, but you can choose your attitude, so choose to be positive.”
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