FOREST CITY | When Samantha Wellik was born prematurely 14 years ago, she had a birthmark on her ankle.
"We always said that was a kiss from God," said her grandmother, Mary Swenson.
Samantha, who died Jan. 23, "was our special angel," Swenson said.
Samantha received residential services from Mosaic, an organization supporting those with intellectual disabilities that has a campus in Forest City.
She was an eighth-grader at Forest City Middle School.
"She was a joy to be around," said school principal Zach Dillavou.
Swenson, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, said her granddaughter weighed less than three pounds when she was born, "so she had some challenges" -- including physical ones.
However, she lived a full life and enjoyed many things, including riding horses at Harmony Ranch in Clear Lake and swimming.
Samantha also was a Special Olympian.
"For all of her challenges, she brought smiles to everyone's face, including her own," Swenson said. "She had an infectious giggle, even during the hardest of times."
Samantha's father and stepmother, Josh and Ashley Wellik, live in Garner, where she went to school before moving to Forest City. Her mother, Abby Wellik, lives in Forest City.
Samantha loved being with her family, according to Swenson.
Every time she heard her dad's voice, "she lit up like a Christmas tree," she said.
Samantha really loved music, according to Dillavou.
Whenever there was music playing, she was "very, very happy," he said.
Samantha was always positive and spirited, according to Dillavou.
"She was always on the go," he said.
A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help Samantha's family pay for funeral expenses. Visit www.gofundme.com/samantha-wellik-funeral to donate online.