There’s a line from a song from The Band Perry that goes “If I die young…” and in it the narrator goes on to list a few wishes when death comes.
For Laura Hiller her farewell to this world was a celebration of her life. The 18-year old from Burlington, Canada died after years of fighting acute myeloid leukemia and in her funeral she was sent off with loving messages from her high school scrolled all over her casket in bright markers, Seventeen reports.
She might have gone on to live to fight a little longer, but as reports surrounding her go, a hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada had a hospital bed shortage for transplant patients.
There were already numerous donor matches for Laura, but there were not enough beds in high air-pressure rooms in Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton to accommodate the procedure, reports the Daily Mail. This resulted to her undergoing unnecessary chemotherapy sessions just to keep her cancer in remission.
Laura’s mother tried to relocate her surgery, only to realize that the hospital bed shortage was a problem experienced across the country, CTV reports. Treating Laura in the U.S. wasn’t a viable option either for operation would require a minimum of $250,000.
She eventually received her hospital bed in August 2015 and underwent the surgery, but the cancer returned later in November. She ended up in intensive care and was able to leave on New Year’s day. Plans for her to go to California for further treatment didn’t go through after she experienced complications. On January 20 she died after her heart gave out.
As The Hamilton Spectator reports, Laura’s pleas for help “caught the attention of Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins who asked the ministry to work with Cancer Care Ontario to expand the program.”
“Laura was a really special young woman who was very good at articulating what patients go through,” said Dr. Ralph Meyer, president of Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Center. “Laura really articulated things in a heart felt way.”
Laura’s fight has led to more transplants being done across Ontario. Reports also say there are plans in the works to increase the number of beds and specialists. As for the hospital where she was treated, it is said that “Juravinski received extra funding that allowed it to do 60 stem cell transplants this fiscal year compared to 47 last year.” Reports also say ” the Ministry of Health has increased funding for specialists doing transplants which will allow Juravinski to hire one more doctor bringing its number to 11.” A plan to increase bed capacity is also in the works.
Friends and family of the promising and actress surrounded her on her sendoff.
“She fought bravely and all of you would have been so proud of her,” her family wrote on Facebook. “Her poise, her courage, her strength and her pure spirit shone through right until the end.”