SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga Prep graduate Ella McKeirnan lost her battle with cancer on Wednesday.
Ella was just 20 years old. She was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma nearly three years ago.
Ella notably gave a stirring valedictorian address at her high school graduation, just three months after being diagnosed with cancer. Doctors said it would be difficult for her to give the speech after weeks of chemotherapy, but she powered through with an amazing speech.
"I stand before you today as living proof that life can hand you some major adversity that you never could have predicted," she said in the speech. “There is no argument that the class of 2017 is great at winning. But, how are we at losing? Failure and losing and struggles, those are the things you actually have to fight through and those are the things that make you a better person and change you, and those are the things that take effort."
Ella also taught everyone around her about the power of positivity, the power of love and laughter in the face of obstacles, and the power to see the ordinary as really extraordinary.
The spirit from the speech never wavered as KREM followed her inspirational journey over the last three years.
When the students at Gonzaga Prep heard she had passed, they created chalk art on the school's sidewalks to honor her and support her family.