Lily’s hope — and incredible strength


graphic by Bridget Murphy

Lily Weaver surprised Mrs. Rebetsky’s journalism class on September 20th with Bridget Murphy.

The Disney character Hercules once said, “A true hero isn’t measured by [her] strength, but by the strength of [her] heart.” These words, describe Lily Weaver, a 16 year old who is battling cancer for the second time.

In 2016, The Truth 365 asked Lily to be a national spokesperson for their non-profit childhood cancer awareness foundation. She was then asked to speak at their CureFest event, and when the time came, Lily explained how unfair it is that childhood cancer only receives 4% of national research funds while the rest goes to adults.

Lily also told the crowd about her own struggles with the rare cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma, which grows in or on the tissue around the bones. In her fifth grade year of school she fought cancer for almost a year.

During the speech in 2016, she was cancer free. February 2017 marked her five years of remission.

In July of Summer 2017, Lily received the devastating news that Ewing’s Sarcoma has made a reappearance on her ribs and spine.  For the past three months, Lily has been in treatment, receiving chemotherapy.  Her next step is a bone marrow transplant.  Grace Weaver, 2017 LHS graduate, is a perfect match and is a potential donor.

This year, her speech at CureFest was different because now Lily was going to be speaking, with cancer. Cancer has never stopped her drive for helping create awareness and help others. Along with her speech, Lily introduced Sabrina Carpenter to her concert.

“She gives other children fighting cancer hope that you can still do so much even while you’re fighting this awful disease. Cancer can pick anyone at any time, and you never know if it will attack your family,” said Grace Weaver, Lily’s older sister who attends Hood College.

The National Cancer Institute reported, “in 2017, it is estimated that 15,270 children and adolescents ages 0 to 19 years will be diagnosed with cancer.”

In her 2017 speech, Lily wrote the words in the form of a letter to Cancer.  She said, “I thought my fight was over. I thought I did my time. I thought I had seen my fill of hospitals and my fair share of IV’s. I thought I was on my way to being a normal kid again. . . I should’ve been worried about getting my license, my work schedule and the next sale at PacSun. Within two days, those worries were changed when I found out you, cancer, had revealed yourself for the second time. While you’ve taken away so many things, there are things I will never allow you to take. One of the biggest being my personality, as I will always stay my bubbly, happy-self through treatment and the tough days.”

The Linganore community is fighting to raise awareness with Lily. On September 22, 2017 the LHS student section sported yellow at the football game. The ribbon for childhood cancer awareness is yellow.  The opposing student section, Gov. Thomas Johnson High School, wore yellow ribbons to show their support for Lily and all other children with cancer, as well.

Whether students know Lily personally or from her work with The Truth 365, anything and everything contributed to the foundation “Lily’s Hope” helps.

“Lily’s personality draws people in. Despite all she has been through she still looks for the rainbow each day,” said Amy Weaver, Lily’s mother.

On Sunday, November 12th at the West Winds Tennis and Fitness Center there will be a 5K run/walk for Lily. There is registration online.  It costs $27.50 total to be an individual runner. If you aren’t able to attend the 5K,  donations online are always welcome.

“My motivation through this process is that even though I have relapsed, I know there are people out there especially other kids, who have it harder than me. I 100% look up to them because they are truly inspiring,” said Lily Weaver.