Anthem girl's valiant battle with cancer ends - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Anthem girl's valiant battle with cancer ends

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Katie Wagner (Source: welovekatie.com) Katie Wagner (Source: welovekatie.com)
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ANTHEM, AZ (CBS5) -

A 17-year-old Anthem girl's battle with cancer has come to an end.

A candlelight vigil Wednesday evening was not just to mark the end of Katie Wagner's battle, but to honor her journey and how she united so many people.

Members of the Boulder Creek High School choir honored their friend and fellow choir member with a song of peace sung in Hebrew.   

"She was a really good Christian girl who put other people's problems before her own," said Karlee Sershen, Wagner's friend.

In October 2011, on the night of one of her performances, then 15-year-old Wagner learned the stomach pain she'd been experiencing was a form of cancer so rare, it affects five in 1 million kids.

Since that diagnosis, the teen endured a year of aggressive chemotherapy. She returned to school when she was strong enough, even singing off stage when she couldn't stand with the choir.

With the entire community rallying behind her, Wagner gave everything she had in hopes of inspiring others.

"She's practically famous throughout Anthem and she did not use her fame for herself," said another one of her friends, Lacy Ross. "And she did not complain about how much pain she was in or how miserable she was."

Just when it appeared she had won the battle earlier this year, the cancer returned and ultimately took her life.

On the surface, it may seem as if cancer won. But those who knew Wagner have reason to sing, saying she completed her mission and she did so valiantly.

"She stood for what was right," said choir director Kirk Douglas. "For fighting when you're hit with something hard, for carrying through to the end."

Choir members said they plan to perform the special song at the end of every performance this year in Wagner's honor.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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