REDMOND, Ore. - A Redmond girl whose valiant battle with cancer inspired her family and much of Central Oregon lost that fight over the weekend, at the age of 10.
We followed the story of Avrey Jane Walker for nearly four years, from a special message she received from Justin Bieber, to her travels to Philadelphia to try new cancer treatments, her family buoyed by widespread community support through numerous fund-raisers and vigils.
As her school sold "Avrey's Angels" T-shirts, Sisters High adopted her as their Sparrow Club "sparrow," and Bend firefighters used her as an inspiration to raise money for a cure in their annual stair climb.
Her passing was announced by her parents on the "Pray for Avrey Walker" Facebook page.
"Despite every effort and thousands of prayers, Avrey Walker earned her angel wings today," Saturday's post began.
"We are incredibly sad, Heartbroken we have lost our little buddy. We fought so hard for her and she endured more than any kid should have to. We gave it all we had and then some," it continued. "We left it all on the field..... She brought our community together with her true grit and perseverance.... The strongest person I have ever known.... We will miss her..... We have lost a true hero in my eyes."
It concluded, " We will never forget the love from all over this country for our little girl..... God bless you Avrey Walker! I love you buddy!"
By Monday night, nearly 2,000 people had "liked" the announcement and nearly 500 shared it, though the prayers, well-wishes and no doubt tears expressed in more than 800 comments showed no one really "liked" the sad outcome for the little girl.
There has been no word yet on service arrangements, but we will pass the details on when we receive them.