A Maple Ridge teenager who was an inspiration to everyone who knew her, in the face of a two-year battle with cancer, has lost her life.
Kieran McGhie, 18, passed away on Sunday morning at 4 a.m.
A fall while figure skating ultimately revealed her bone cancer, osteosarcoma, a week before Christmas in 2012. The cancer also attacked her lungs.
After a hip replacement, surgery on her femur, the removal of one lung and chemotherapy, she was diagnosed as cancer free in the summer of 2013.
McGhie maintained an online blog through her ordeal, and filled it with positive messages. She wanted to be a role model for other kids fighting cancer.
“I care so much about my body and living a healthy lifestyle and how to deal with things. But the biggest thing I’ve learned is to never ever give up and to always stay positive! No matter how scared, worried or sad you are, just smile! I’ve learned to always tell myself that I’m going to be okay and to always look at the bright side of everything.”
When cancer returned, she faced a tougher battle, using new research drugs.
Her principal at Garibaldi secondary, Grant Frend, remembers his conversations with Kieran, and how much she looked forward to graduation last year. Three weeks before grad she had surgery to remove a tumor, but she was determined to be part of the ceremony.
“The highlight of my career was handing her a diploma on that stage,” said Frend, remembering the standing ovation McGhie got from the audience. He called her “a bright light.”
“Everyone loved her. She was such a great kid. She’s one of those people it’s impossible not to like.”
Kellie Marquet said McGhie was like part of the family, because her daughter Heather and she were close friends.
“Even before cancer she was always the happiest kid – she would come into a room and hug everyone,” she said. “She was the glue that held everybody together.”
Family friend Deanna Bessette said McGhie passed away at Canuck Place, surrounded by her family, Her mother is Cindy Hold, father Brad McGhie, and siblings Kalia, Dakota, Camille and Deacon.
“We knew it was going to happen, but nobody expected it to happen as quickly as it did,” said Bessette. “She was pain free, and she had her whole family around her.”
The end came suddenly. When some of her friends from her neighbourhood wanted to visit her at the hospital, she told them she would meet them at a neighbourhood hangout.
“She wanted all the Whonnock Kids to go to the pier, and wait for her there,” said Marquet. McGhie was there in spirit, she said.
“She’s just the most positive kid there ever was.”
• Her blog can be found at kieranmcghie.blogspot.ca.