Laura Hillier was the kind of young woman who didn't let anything stop her. When she received a leukemia diagnosis at the age of 13, Laura fought back, and spent four years in remission. She was known for her “infectious joy,” creative talent and a determination to live according to her favorite quote: “Life is a song … Sing it 'til your heart's content.”
However, in May 2015, Laura received bad news – the cancer was back. To have a hope of survival, she needed a transplant, and while it sounds simple enough, the Hillier family was warned that wait times could be deadly. There were good days and bad days, but on January 20, 2016, Laura couldn't wait any longer. She passed away, surrounded by her loved ones. Later that day, her family broke the news on a Facebook page that had been created in her honor, Hope For Laura. They said:
“She fought bravely and all of you would have been so proud of her. Her poise, her courage, her strength and her pure spirit shone through right until the end.”
While losing someone, especially someone young, to a disease as awful as cancer is never easy, there's even more reason to be furious about a case like Laura's. Had she received the transplant she needed in a timely manner, there's no telling how long she may have lived. It's no wonder that when it came time for her funeral, friends and family wanted to give her an extra-special good-bye. What they did is incredibly touching.
Laura was greatly admired by classmates and teachers alike at Nelson High School in Ontario, Canada. The 18-year-old was well-known for her love of arts and theater, and had recently graduated.
People also knew Laura as the girl who loved the color purple. Here, she's in the hospital, looking more like a movie star than a sick girl with this beautiful purple head-wrap.
Laura was greatly loved, and many people wanted to say goodbye. When the time came, Laura's family encouraged her friends, teachers, classmates and hospital staff to grab some permanent markers and write a message on her casket.
Across the front was Laura's own message: “Life is a song … Sing to your heart's content.” What other chose to write is deeply personal and touching. Each message speaks volumes to the type of person Laura was.
“You will always be my hero.”
“You were musical. You were artistic. You were understanding. You were my bestest friend.”