Tiffanie’s Story

Site created on September 2, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.


Those of us that know Tiffanie know her as a vibrant woman who loved life and lived each day to its fullest. Shortly after returning from a 7 day river trip in the Bob Marshall wilderness in July, Tiffanie's health began to rapidly decline. She was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt Jakob's Disease (CJD), an exceptionally rare neurological disease that is fatal. There is little that can be done to fight the disease; she is being kept comfortable with family and friends by her side. 

Newest Update

Journal entry by Ryan McAllister

Although I was sure it wouldn't, the sun did rise over the Bitterroots this morning.  I guess the world is still turning.  As I have on so many mornings, I sipped coffee as I watched the colors change from grey to pink to blue.  I walked outside and felt the cool air.  I noticed the green grass and color of the flowers seemed a bright contrast to the morning sun.

It's now been 18 days since we brought Tiffanie home from the University of Utah Medical Center. It seems like a lifetime ago......I guess it was.  Our first morning back in our home, Tiffanie cried tears of joy and repeated "it is so beautiful here.  I'm so lucky."

Tiffanie's last moment was deeply touching.  Sheryl held her left hand and I held her right hand.  Her dad Jerry stood a few feet away.  Mike Sturmak played guitar.  My brother, and friends who feel like brothers, formed a circle around her.  Between tears we sang songs as Tiffanie clung tenaciously to life.  Finally, after singing Mr. Bojangles, Tiffanie's breathing performed a perfect decrescendo and she gently left his world.  We dressed her in jeans and her favorite pink western shirt with pearl snaps.  The same outfit she chose her first day home from the hospital.

We sat around the fire until early this morning making toasts, reminiscing, looking at the stars and celebrating Tiffanie's life. 

That brings me to my final point--it is time to begin healing.  The world is still turning.  Life marches on.  Remember Tiffanie with the zeal and enthusiasm that defined her.  Appreciate the subtle and beautiful things.  Drink the wine.  Sing. Use the good china every day. Express your love and gratitude often and honestly.  Give freely of yourself your time and talents.  Enrich the lives of the people you know.  Make the world a better place.  Celebrate Tiffanie with smiles and happiness. 

Thanks once again to friends and family who have been so kind during this difficult time.  The texts, emails, calls and cards have helped me survive.  I am truly blessed. 
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