The family of MaKenzie LeeAnn Knighten are horribly saddened by her passing on March 27, 2023. As a woman of faith, she has gone to be with her Lord. MaKenzie was diagnosed with adult onset epilepsy in February of 2022 and in February of this year, she had an SVT event followed by an unsuccessful cardiac ablation. She courageously & relentlessly sought for management of her seizures and answers to her heart condition….her ultimate demise was due to a cardiac arrest.. As short as her time here was with us, she accomplished SO MUCH!! She refused to let the dark moments control her life, either, physically, mentally or spiritually. She searched deeply for glimmers of hope, peace and restoration under God’s plan for her. She wrote, “Until I find the light at the end of this very long, very dark tunnel, I wish to be the light.” Jeremiah 29:11.
She ultimately passed the same day she was to see her cardiac doctor for follow up care.
MaKenzie’s birth was anticipated with much desire and love on March 22, 2000 in Hemet, California. MaKenzie’s life was a joyful blessing and her memory a treasure. She was loved beyond words and will be missed beyond measure.
MaKenzie is lovingly survived by her father, Gary and her mother, Patsy and her Godparents, Johnny & Joanne Brown. Her Grandparents, Larry & Carol Watson and Gail Knighten. She was a soulmate to her sissies, MaKylee (Jaiden),
Heather (Kevin) Gard and Valerie Hubbard and her forever Nanny, Candy Meador.
There was soon to be an announcement of her engagement to Braden Jones, the love of her life, outside of the Lord, first. She loved her family fiercely and was always surrounded by their love…. Nieces Ashley Schwalbe (Nick), Monica Rob) Beaulieu, Oriah, Hailey and Bailee Knighten, Nephews Bucky Duggan (Hailey K), Josh (Alex) Duggan, Chris (Haley) Pearson. Benjamin Gard, Jesse (Grace), Bradley Knighten, great nieces Stormy, Faith, Hope, Elliana & Teagan and great nephew Arbour and Grayson. And many loyal friends!! And of course, her companion dog, Winnie, who laid by her side guarding her at all times. She was a disciple of the Lord and an ordained minister and performed the tenets of the church in the marriage of her nephew, Joshua and Alexandria Duggan.
She was greeted in heaven by her brother Anthony Knighten, her sister Loleta Rae Ernst, Great Grandmother Altine Moore and her papa Kenny Knighten.
MaKenzie really enjoyed the Medical CTE classes at Shasta High School and was an advocate for the continuation of them as graduating students came out of high school as an employable Certified Medical Assistant. She was president of the Shasta HOSA, a club representing future health care workers. She attended HOSA competitions in California and one in Washington D.C. She also collaborated with the National Alliance for Mental Illness and set up a week-long event at Shasta High School with guest speakers and resource booths for the whole student body. She was employed by Dr. Andrew Solkovits while in high school. She was in awe of his mentoring and considered him family.
Academically, she flourished with personal joy. She graduated from UCLA/UCSD in 3 years with a B.S. in Clinical Psychology. Her desire was to get her PHD in Occupational Therapy. Her passion was to be a mental health advocate, as was evidenced by her involvement in the “Out of Darkness” walk here in Redding. She organized fundraisers and events for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. MaKenzie changed her life after the passing of her brother. She so wanted the uncomfortable stigma of mental health to go away. MaKenzie was invited to speak at local service clubs regarding her passion of mental health. She helped open the Shasta High School Wellness Center and eventually was named Director of the Center. She was immensely grateful to the Shasta Union High School District for the opportunity to direct their Wellness Center.
Makenzie wrote in a journal: “don’t hold people accountable by trying to change their behavior, hold them accountable to who they are and redirect them back to their identity in Christ when they are struggling in their choices and actions”. While serving and attending her worship at “The Stirring”, she deepened her relationship with God and invited her family and friends to walk with her in her faith.
There will be a “Celebration of Life” at the Senior Center at 2290 Benton Drive, Redding, Ca. on Saturday, June 17th at 5:00 pm. MaKenzie loved the outdoors, sunrises and sunsets, hikes and walks, so ending the memorial, there will be a walk to the Dieselhorst Bridge for a sunset prayer.
For those who wish to donate in her honor, donations may be made to the Shasta High School Wellness Center or the UC San Diego Epilepsy Center in La Jolla, Ca.
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