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ST. JOHN, Ind. — The father of the first-year pharmacy resident who was killed in a shooting at Mercy Hospital shared his emotional thoughts about his only child Tuesday.

Dayna Less, 25, grew up in St. John, Indiana, and graduated from Lake Central High School. She was planning to marry her high school sweetheart in June. Her mother, a seamstress, has been busy making Less’ wedding dress.

Less’ parents and fiancé are heartbroken, but her father, Brian Less, doesn’t want her remembered as a victim.

He said Dayna Less was beautiful and kind, and she overcame the adversity of extreme pain and surgeries due to a headache disorder, which she blogged about to help others. She graduated from the pharmacy program at Purdue just last May, and was in her first year of residency at Mercy.

Even in their grief, the Less family is expressing gratitude for Chicago police.

“I want to thank God for the Chicago Police Department whose [sic] officer laid down his life to protect others at Mercy Hospital,” Brian Less said. “If it wasn’t for them, you may be doing 20 press conferences, not one or two or three.”

While at Purdue, Dayna Less spent time abroad in Kenya, where she thrived at a clinic there during a doctor’s strike. Her father said Dayna Less truly lived to help others — and that his daughter was actually about to sign on for a second year of residency at Mercy because she loved the work so much.

He also said the family was planning a wedding with 500 guests for this summer.