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Special coverage: Tears too soon - Tragic deaths change lives of Immokalee teenagers

In loss came love for Nicole Yslas.

Back in February, friends in her hometown of Immokalee waited hours for her to return from making funeral arrangements for her 16-year-old daughter to offer sympathy.

Kanasha Isaac was shot outside Fort Myers Ale House, the most recent loss in a string of 10 tragic deaths of teenagers from the Collier County farming town. A Fort Myers man was arrested for her murder.

Friends, relatives and teenagers who loved her daughter showed up at the door with flowers, cards, chicken and beans, and cakes.

They cooked food for the people who grieved by her side.

They offered prayers and memories of her daughter’s gorgeous smile.

“The love was just there. The support was just there,” said Yslas. “If it wasn’t for my family and friends, that’s something I wouldn’t have been able to bear.”

Yslas is part of the third generation to call the town home after her grandparents settled there to work in agriculture. The 32-year-old bank teller chose to raise her children there for the comfort and safety it provides. Kanasha was the eldest of four.

“Everybody knows everybody and everybody helps one another in a time of need and they’re just loving, loving people,” she said.

Yslas misses hearing her daughter call out “Mom.” She misses that smile, her laughter and jokes. Her daughter loved to talk on the phone and hang out with friends. Despite reports to the contrary, her daughter wasn’t pregnant.

“Kanasha was a very, very bright girl and loved by many people,” she said.

Yslas kept her daughter on life support in order to donate her organs.

“That’s one thing that I can still hold in my heart,” she said.

Her kidneys, liver and lungs helped four adults. Her corneas were given to two teens.

In death, she healed others, which seems fitting. She wanted to be a pediatrician.

— Janine Zeitlin

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