SHAKOPEE, MN — The Shakopee Public Schools community is mourning the loss of Melissa Zahn, the principal of Central Family Center. Zahn died Wednesday morning following a years-long battle with breast cancer.
In honor of her, staff in the district are wearing pink Thursday to "remember her contributions to our district, staff and students."
Zahn, of Jordan, was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 when she was 27 years old, but was declared cancer-free following a double mastectomy in 2012.
In 2014 cancer returned and was found to have spread to her liver. Despite the new diagnosis, Zahn remained dedicated to her work with children. In 2015 she was named WCCO’s "Excellent Educator" of the week.
That same year she and her husband began in vitro fertilization through a gestational carrier; their son was born in January 2016, Shakopee Valley News reported.
As the cancer escalated, Zahn was put on medical leave from her principal position in November 2017.
"This was not our plan," read an entry on her GoFundMe page. "Although she’s been fighting for six years, this was all too sudden and we are just not ready."
"Please continue Melissa’s spirit through acts of kindness, compassion, and bringing goodness to all you meet. Melissa lives on through us and our actions. We will teach Henry what an incredible woman his mother was and how she made a difference on earth."