Friday, November 21, 2008

Kyah's journey an inspiration for thousands



By GREER MACDONALD - The Dominion Post | Friday, 21 November 2008

DEAN KOZANIC/The Press

FOREVER REMEMBERED: Fundraising websites have gathered nearly $20,000 for the Child Cancer Foundation, in dedication to Kyah Milne. Her battle with cancer ended on Wednesday morning.

Kyah Milne may have drawn her last breath in her fight against cancer, but her battle has inspired thousands to dig deep to provide continuing support for others.

Fundraising websites have attracted nearly $20,000 of donations toward the Child Cancer Foundation in dedication to Kyah's battle, which ended in her parents' Johnsonville home on Wednesday morning.

She died peacefully, with her parents and her much-loved stuffed toy "Giraffe" at her side, just over a week before her third birthday.

Kyah was found to have neuroblastoma, a rare cancer of the adrenal glands, when she was 19 months old.

Tributes have flowed from around the world to the online journal that was kept by her parents throughout the toddler's 505-day rule-breaking fight with the disease.

"She has gone to a place where she can run and play just like any other almost-three-year-old can, where she is surrounded by butterflies and Polly Pockets and where she is no longer in pain," her mother, Shanell Christian, wrote on the site.

Kyah's father, Jason Milne, told The Dominion Post yesterday that the many donations were "absolutely amazing".

"I guess that's just one of the ways that people can help, and that's fantastic - that's what we've always said through this journey, for people not to send gifts, just donate to child cancer or Ronald McDonald House."

Donations can also be left at Kyah's funeral service, which begins at 1pm today at the Lychgate Chapel in Johnsonville.

Mr Milne said the support the family received from Christchurch and Wellington hospitals and from community nurses was "absolutely amazing", and that staff had become like family.

The popular journal of Kyah's treatment and fight against cancer, which was regularly updated by her parents, received more than 1000 comments of condolence after her death.

Mr Milne said he hoped the entries would eventually be made into a book so that the couple's two other children, 12-year-old Kaleb and seven-year-old Jordan, would understand "how to treat people, and how people can band together".

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