Dainere Anthoney has become one of my heroes.
In 2009, she was diagnosed with a highly malignant brain tumour. Last Monday night, it finally claimed her life.
She was 15.
What she achieved while fighting an epic battle with her medulloblastoma can only be described as profound. She published a book (based on her remarkable blog), raised funds and awareness for brain tumour research, created beautiful art, diligently continued her schooling, published another book (a picture book for children), and so much more.
She did it all while enduring devastating pain (and not just the physical kind). She did it all with a glorious smile. She did it all with utterly selfless love for everyone around her.
I met Dainere and her family in 2010, when I gave the Anthoneys a photo session. It was impossible not to love her.
My children were lucky enough to meet her during subsequent visits to Canberra. We imagined we were cheering her up, but I suspect we were the main beneficiaries of these visits. Dainere’s grace and serenity were extraordinary. And that smile …
Dainere, you lived your short life like a superhero. We miss you already, but we’re so glad your pain is over. And don’t worry, we’ll do everything we can to give your beloved family all the love they’ll need as they figure out how to live without you.
Goodbye, beautiful rainbow girl.
(A few photos from today’s celebration of Dainere follow.)