Kylie Chooses Joy

Mark, Kylie's dad tells us that "Kylie lived a life that radiated joy. From her earliest days her family called her Smiley Kylie because a smile was never far from her face. She grew to love being on stage and at the age of twelve, Kylie's knee began hurting while she was performing in a school play. She was soon diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Even when faced with harsh cancer treatment, Kylie fought with her trademark smile and chose joy in spite of her circumstances. After a 10-month struggle, Kylie's battered body succumbed to the disease. She left us with a lasting legacy of hope and a mission to cure childhood cancer. Smiley for Kylie was created in her memory to fund childhood cancer research and help others choose joy during difficult times.

As for a quote, when she was in treatment, there was a social media challenge called, #WeAreHere. They asked the question, "why are you here." Kylie's response was very telling. I suggested that she was here to encourage others, to help them get through their hard time. Or maybe she was here to be the voice of children with cancer so that we could break through the funding gap. And then, I had it....

"You're here to show people that you can still smile, even when life stinks."

I remember her reaction as if it were yesterday. Kylie was instantly repulsed by my suggestion, but not at all in the way I expected. She was so quick to point out:

"Daddy, life doesn't stink. It's just not fair sometimes."

So, she wrote: "I am here to help people smile, even when life's not fair.""

This is easier said than done, but Kylie lived up to her reason to the fullest. To inspire others when you are well is one thing, but to continue to inspire and spread positivity while fighting your own battle is another - Kylie fought a great battle and her story and memory still inspires and lives on today. Thank you, Mark, for sharing Kylie's story, we will continue to smile and choose joy, even when life isn't fair, in her honor.

Learn more about Smiley for Kylie at www.facebook.com/smileyforkylie