BRUSHY PRAIRIE — The community is mourning the loss of Prairie Heights Middle School student ConLei Walworth.
ConLei, 13, the daughter of Chris and Jill Walworth, was diagnosed with cancer in her spine and brain on May 30 and passed away Wednesday morning. She was treated at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and over the past month or so has been in pediatric hospice.
More than 1,400 people follow her Facebook page, Courage for ConLei. Wednesday afternoon, her loss was announced in a post:
“Our spunky little turtle lover left us this morning at 10 a.m. She was not in pain and was surrounded by family. We will miss her big smile, her quick wit, and her funny one liners. There was no one in the world like ConLei Nadine. Through all of this heartache we have been humbled and touched by this community and how they have come forward to support her and our family. ConLei lived every day to the fullest. She always danced like no one was watching and stopped to smell the roses. She loved fiercely, stood up for the little guy, and had a joke, smile, hug or kind word for everyone. For those of you who want to know what you can do for us, do a kindness in her name.”
In pediatric hospice over the past month or so, ConLei has been visited by family and friends — receiving love, gifts and her first bouquet of red roses.
This fall, she was able to go to school for awhile and enjoy outings with friends and school events. Over the summer and fall there were plenty of posts of her fishing on the lake. In October, her family went to Maui, Hawaii through the Make A Wish Foundation.
ConLei and Boss Baby Nomalee Gregory were the featured recipients of funds from this year’s Liv It Up block party in Angola, organized by cancer survivor Olivia Stoy and the Liv It Up Foundation. The annual Little John’s Lemonade Stand on Lake Gage, held by Prairie Heights students Grace Johnson and Emily McCrea and their families each year to benefit local children with cancer, also supported ConLei. In October, she received the proceeds from T-shirt sales and the carnival at the fifth annual Boo Cancer event at Trine University.
This season, the seventh- and eighth-grade boys basketball teams at Prairie Heights wore socks ordered through a fundraiser for ConLei. The yellow ribbon for childhood cancer is emblazoned on a black turtle with the saying “Always and forever we fight together.”