Daughter honors mom one year after Cascade Mall killings

Eric Wilkinson reports

One year later at Burlington's Cascade Mall, the memorials are gone, but the memories remain.

"It was a very long night," says Tanya Young. "I think about it every day. It doesn't go away."

Tanya lost her mother, Shayla Martin, that night. Four others died as well when on September 23rd a gunman opened fire inside the mall's Macy's department store.

Tanya is still trying to cope with the loss of her mom and best friend.

"I mostly just wonder what was going through my mom's mind. There are so many questions," she says. "Everything is very different, but it's the little things like I can't ask her questions, or I can't get her advice."

Shayla adopted Tanya on Valentine's Day in 1994 when she was just three years old.

  

The bond they share to this day remains unbreakable.

"She was everything to me. She gave everything to me. I'd have nothing without her," says Tanya.

Shayla pushed her daughter to achieve.
  
Tanya, admittedly a "lazy student" in high school eventually graduated from Skagit Valley College. She is now a senior at Western Washington University pursuing a degree in psychology.

Tanya says she probably wouldn't have gone to college if not for her hardworking mother's persistence.
  
Now, Tanya wants to do for others, what her mother did for her.

"She supported me in education and it has done nothing but make my life better, so I hope to help people with that," she says.

Tanya is organizing an endowment at Skagit Valley College for financially struggling students.

It's her way of finding light in such dark.
  
"I mean, she was such a bright light, not only do I want to share that bright light but help other people shine a little brighter, too," says Tanya.

The 26-year-old still has trouble walking into large stores or movie theaters. She once planned to use her psychology degree to help young gang members, but the backdrop of gun violence forced a change of heart. She now plans to specialize in violence against women.

20-year-old Arcan Cetin confessed to the killings. He never provided a motive, and his mental health was in question when he killed himself in his jail cell while awaiting trial last April.

Tanya says she doesn't think much about Cetin, preferring to focus on the kindness, generosity and love that illuminated her mom.

Find out more about the Skagit Valley College endowment.

© 2017 KING-TV


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