When a student tragically died before she was able to graduate from high school, her classmates gathered together at her funeral and transformed her coffin into a yearbook.
After battling leukemia for years, 18-year-old Laura Hillier passed away in January one semester shy of graduation.
What makes the situation even sadder is that numerous people had been able to accommodate a bone marrow transplant for the young woman.
But Hamilton’s Juravinski Hospital in Canada didn’t have enough beds in high-air-pressure rooms for the procedure.
Hospital staff told her they had about 30 patients with potential donors, but the means to only do about five transplants a month.
Laura was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at age 13.
She had been completely cancer-free for approximately four years after her first battle with AML, but relapsed this past May.
Dr. Ralph Meyer, Juravinski’s vice-president of oncology and palliative care, told Ontario’s TheStar.com there are plenty of others facing the same situation as Laura in Canada.
After her death in January, her obituary slammed Canada’s bed shortage as having ‘deadly wait times’:
‘In Laura’s last year with us, she was determined to bring public attention to the problem of deadly wait times for bone marrow transplants in Ontario and across Canada.’
After her death, the outpouring of love was so great for Laura, her family asked some people to only attend the visitation, rather than the funeral, because they were worried about running out of room.
Friends of the teen who loved musical theater came out in their droves to sign the casket in marker, talking about her life and singing her favorite songs.
‘Though Laura’s casket was a beautiful sentiment from her friends and family, Laura’s fight, and now our fight, is to change the medical system to end the deadly wait times for patients requiring a bone marrow transplant,’ a post on the Hope for Laura Hillier Facebook page said.