Marist School is mourning the loss of 17-year-old Helen Bawak-Manyi Wamey who died suddenly Sept. 29 after contracting meningitis.
Wamey was a senior set to graduate next spring and was described by the school as a “joyful, delightful young woman.” Wamey loved biology and volunteered with the American Red Cross in honor of her aunt who was diagnosed with cancer. She planned to become a doctor and continue to help people.
Wamey was also involved in Girls Support Girls, a club which empowers female students to be their best selves and Mosaic, a student-led group committed to learning about, valuing and celebrating each other’s cultures and unique abilities. She was also a founding member of Marist’s Black Student Alliance where she was helping to build a sense of community and belonging for Black students at Marist.
“We are heartbroken over the passing of Helen, an extraordinary person and cherished member of our school community,” Marist School Principal Mr. Kevin Mullally said. “We are grateful for the blessing of her life and will remember and honor her as we support one another in this time of sorrow.”
When not in class or volunteering with the Red Cross, Wamey was a talented dancer who performed with FootNotes Dance and Acrobatics Studio in Roswell. Her love of dance and performing began was she was just four years old and lead her to become a cheerleader for Marist her freshman year. At the time of her death, Wamey was on the varsity cheer team.
Family and friends say she never stopped dancing. Her mother describes her as “the girl who pirouetted down the aisles of grocery stores and danced her way through her own life.”
“The news of Helen’s death has been devastating on Helen’s entire community at school, church, dance and her broader Cameroonian and American community due to the impact she made in each life she met,” Wamey’s uncle Conrad Enyong wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Helen was a daughter of the community and a friend to many.”
The GoFundMe, originally set up to cover funeral expenses with a goal of $80,000, has now reached more than $109,000 and 860 donors.
“On behalf of Our family and friends we are very grateful for every donation during this difficult time,” Enyong wrote.
“We pray for the repose of Helen’s soul and for her family and friends, uplifting them and each other as we come together to find strength in one another and our God, who is our comfort in times of sorrow,” Marist School wrote in an Instagram post.
To donate to her GoFundMe, visit https://gofund.me/b57bd82d. Her family has also created a memorial page where they invite friends and family to share stories of Wamey.
That page can be reached at https://helenwameymemorial.com/.