Pediatric brain cancer may be one of the most terrible diseases on the planet, and the tragedy doesn't stop at the lives it affects. Very little funding is actually dedicated to research of this particular form of cancer, and not many advancements have been made over the past few decades. Until we start investing more than just private grants, it'll keep taking away children who deserve to lead full, happy lives.
That's why seven-year-old Katherine King's aunt, Taisce, wrote a touching message when her favorite little girl was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor on her brainstem and given nine months to live.
Seven-year-old Katherine King was taken way too soon.
When she was diagnosed out of nowhere with an inoperable tumor, the little one was given only a few months to live.
Like most little kids, she loved nothing more than dressing up and playing with her favorite toys.
At the time of her crushing diagnosis, there was still so much she hadn't done.
That simple fact tore her loved ones to pieces.
This was the last photograph that was uploaded before diagnosis.
"You should have been able to go to high school," her aunt writes.
This is the day of diagnosis.
Katherine King should've been able to find love.
She should've been able to get married and have the full life she deserved.
Instead, it was all cut short.
Rather than having all of her dreams come true, her life became a waking nightmare.
Taisce compared her niece's experience to an hourglass that lost more and more sand each day.
With the time she had left, Katherine raised awareness for the sorry state of pediatric brain cancer research alongside her family members.
She raised money for charity.
And because she was wise beyond her years, she put the well-being of others before her own in the face of personal tragedy.
She just wanted everyone to smile.
Katherine King faced these struggles with as much joy as she could muster.
In her aunt's words, she was kind when she "could've lashed out."
"You were brave even though you had every reason to be afraid," Taisce writes.
"You were strong even though you were allowed to be weak."
While the little girl slipped away, she put on a brave face for the people who loved her most.
In that way, she was utterly selfless.
Everyone who met her fell in love.
And everyone felt comfortable in her presence.
In Taisce's words, "Your tumor made you a prisoner inside your own body."
"You couldn't sing, you couldn't dance, and you couldn't tell your family that you loved them."
The worst part for those around her was watching such a bright spirit lose her will to enjoy the things that once brought her so much happiness.
Her energy wore thin as she approached the end.
When they knew it was Katherine's time to go, they told her it was okay to be at peace.
"You will be missed by so many people," her aunt writes.
"You were loved by more people than you'll ever realize."
She will live on forever in the hearts of those who had to say their tearful goodbyes.
"You are loved, Katherine King, and you will be missed. Your impact will continue to ripple far beyond the seven years that you were with us and you will never be forgotten."
If you'd like to help make sure this girl's plight doesn't go unnoticed, please consider donating to the McKenna Claire Foundation.