Young Vancouver singer loses battle with cancer
Published Sunday, January 30, 2011 6:47PM PST
A Vancouver singer who battled cancer while using her talents to raise money for research and lift the spirits of young chemotherapy patients has died at the age of 20.
Megan McNeil was diagnosed with adrenalcortical carcinoma, a rare tumor originating in the adrenal gland, at the age of 16. She shared her experiences with the world through the song "The Will to Survive," donating proceeds to various childhood cancer organizations.
"I kind of wrote it both as therapy for me and for other people going through it," she told Canada AM in October. "My main incentive was to kind of write something that I guess could help even a couple families get through their toughest day."
But it went far beyond that, touching millions as both the song and her childhood cancer campaign reached as far as England and Russia.
McNeil fought long and hard against the disease, enduring more than 25 rounds of chemotherapy, 18 weeks of radiation and seven surgeries.
Before her passing, she lamented the "woefully underfunded" state of childhood cancer research.
"One thing a lot of people don't know about childhood cancer is that research into childhood cancer helps adults, but research into adult cancer doesn't help kids," she said.
McNeil's parents have requested privacy, but issued a statement on Saturday.
"Our daughter was our hero. She taught us the meaning of bravery and inspired us every day," it read.
"We are so grateful for the many who have reached out to let us know much her song meant to them. And we are so glad she was, and is, our daughter."