A candlelight vigil was held on Friday night in Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge, to remember six-year-old Kira Short who passed away on Aug. 15 after a two-year battle with cancer.
And there is still a Ride for Kira planned for this month, to benefit families struggling with the costs of their child’s cancer battle.
On Friday night in the park gazebo, approximately 400 people heard her father Peter Short talk about her bravery in the face of cancer treatment for a tumour on her neck.
“I watched Kira go through some of the most horrendous things, between the amount of visits to the hospital, her chemo, and everything… that would bring an adult to their knees, and she did it with a smile on her face,” he said.
“I was trying to figure out what in the short six years of her life, what I managed to teach her in that time, and I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t teaching her, but she was teaching me.”
Her story was well known in Maple Ridge, told in the media and online. There were songs by a children’s choir, by Katzie traditional singers and speeches by attendees including Mayor Nicole Read and Coun. Corisa Bell.
“Kira’s story captured the heart of our community,” is how Read put it.
“What also captured our hearts is the strength and dedication of Kira’s family, to 00surround their daughter with strength, love and hope. Peter and Rayanne there are no words to express how we all feel right now. All of us hope that we would have the determination, the courage and the dignity you have displayed as you dealt with Kira’s treatments.
She thanked the couple for inviting the community to mourn their daughter’s passing, “because we need to come together to say goodbye and to offer you our love and support as you deal with the loss of your incredible daughter.”
On Sunday, Short offered a Facebook message:
“I want to send a huge thank you from our family out to everyone far and wide who came out to honour Kira this weekend. From the candle light vigil, the celebration of life, and her burial this afternoon. I’m an in awe at how many people Kira touched in the six years she was with us.
“I am eternally grateful for the amount of support we have received and continue to receive at this time. You are all forever in about hearts. Thank you all for being a part of our journey and being #strongforkira.”
A Ride for Kira is being planned for Sept. 17. It will begin at 10 a.m. at the Tim Hortons at 19924 Lougheed Hwy. They will ride to 1500 Woolridge for a show and shine and performance by the Sweet Max Band. At 1 p.m. they will leave BC Children’s Hospital, and will present the oncology ward with the toys and games donated by the riders.
The family’s expenses included living in Boston for three and a half months for treatment that is only available in the USA, and much time off work. Contributions can still be made to the go-fund me account at www.gofundme.com/kirashort. The goal is $50,000, and so far $35,000 has been raised.