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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Celebrates the Life of Michelle Krajewski

Michelle Krajewski at the 2012 NCIL Annual ConferenceToday, the National Council on Independent Living mourns the loss of one of our finest advocates and favorite people. We are extremely saddened to pass along the news that Michelle Krajewski passed away on Friday, August 31, after her 14 month battle with cancer.

Michelle was the Director of Public Policy at The Whole Person Center for Independent Living in Kansas City, Missouri, and also served on the NCIL Board of Directors as Region VII Representative for the past three years. NCIL is receiving an outpouring of sadness from advocates across the United States who knew her for her work in Missouri and on the national level. From these many expressions of grief and loss, it is clear that Michelle was not only a dedicated colleague and respected advocate, but also a true friend. 

For those of us who were lucky enough to know Michelle, her passion and personality exuded. She was not known for politeness in advocacy, rather for giving hell to anyone standing in the way of progress. She was known for her energy, talent, and strength of character.

We will miss our dear friend and colleague immensely. Even though we knew of her battle with cancer, her passing comes as a surprise to most. There was something about Michelle that made everyone feel as though she could beat anything. For those of us left to remember her, it is hard to accept that someone so young and full of life could ever leave us so soon. NCIL members and staff are devastated and completely heartbroken, but look forward to celebrating the life and legacy of a woman that will not be forgotten. Her picture will now hang at NCIL headquarters in Washington, DC forever as a reminder of what makes this organization great. We will cherish her legacy and use it to inspire advocates to action in way that befits her memory.

Michelle stands today as an example of how our business should be done, with fire, dedication, and courage. We are not likely to find another person like Michelle Krajewski in this lifetime, but we will remember our friend and continue her life’s work in a way that we hope would make her proud.

Words cannot convey the sorrow and loss that is felt with her passing. However, knowing Michelle, she would likely want us to celebrate instead of grieve, and share stories about her remarkable life and incredible sense of humor.

Michelle we love you, we will miss you, and you have made us all better for knowing you. Our thoughts and support are with your husband Jim, who remarked, “Today, the world lost a strong woman, but gained a precious angel.”

The Visitation will be Wednesday, September 5th from 6-8 p.m. Location to be determined. 

Michelle’s funeral will be Thursday, September 6th at 11 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church located at 1001 East 52nd Street, Kansas City, MO.


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