As the leaves begin to change and the air takes on a crisp edge, September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM), a time dedicated to raising awareness and funds for children battling cancer. At Lighthouse Family Retreat, this month holds special significance, as we have the privilege of sharing inspiring stories that shed light on the impact of childhood cancer. To kick off this September, we want to introduce you to the incredible journey of Kylie Myers.
Kylie Myers, gracing the world with her presence on February 24th, 2002, was a radiant soul from the very start. Being the youngest of four sisters, Kylie possessed a remarkable talent for infusing joy into every situation, always sporting a heartwarming smile. Her deep compassion for others, coupled with her love for singing and performing on stage, shone as brightly as her love for her family.
In many ways, Kylie embodied the qualities of an eldest child, with tendencies toward perfectionism, eagerness to please, and a strong work ethic. She was known for her "velcro hugs," making everyone she embraced feel cherished. Kylie's true passion, however, lay in the world of theater. At the age of nine, she landed the role of Annie and discovered her love for the stage, which became her second home.
In early 2014, Kylie's life took an unexpected turn when she began experiencing pain in her knee. On April 9th of that year, the devastating diagnosis came: Ewing's Sarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer. Undeterred by this news, Kylie embarked on her chemotherapy journey, armed with hope and her signature smile. The chemotherapy treatments she received took a brutal toll on her body. Yet, even on the darkest days, Kylie possessed a unique ability to find joy amid the battle with cancer. With unwavering determination, she fought back with her radiant smile and a positive attitude, creating pictures and videos to share her joy with fellow fighters and her dedicated followers, known as SmileyForKylie.
Kylie's faith journey began at a young age, and she prayed to receive Christ when she was just seven years old. Throughout her battle with cancer, Kylie's faith shone brightly. When faced with her diagnosis, her response was profound: "God must have a really big, great plan for me." Kylie consistently sought ways to encourage others, extending her compassion to children undergoing treatment and anyone who reached out to her through social media. Even as her family set goals for Smiley for Kylie, she remained focused on the primary objective: "To make God smile."
For a period, the chemotherapy seemed to be working, pushing the cancer into retreat. However, it could never be fully eradicated. As the radiation treatment cycle neared its conclusion, a heartbreaking discovery was made: new tumors had surfaced, rendering Kylie's cancer incurable by standard methods. Tragically, before she could enter clinical trials, Kylie passed away on February 13th, 2015.
Kylie lived every moment with love and a godly joy that is truly unique. Her faith found its most profound expression in the hospital, where she told her family that she felt a "strange peace" about the prospect of dying. With one hand, she touched her father's beard, and with the other, her mother's hair, leaving them with her final requests: to care for her kitten and to continue working tirelessly to find a cure for childhood cancer.
As we honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, let Kylie's story inspire us to keep pushing forward, striving to bring hope and healing to children and families facing challenges of childhood cancer.
To hear more about Kylies story, listen to her episode HERE
To view Kylie & Liza film, click HERE
To learn more about Smiley for Kylie, click HERE