BASALT, Colo. (CBS4) — A Colorado high school student who had been battling cancer passed away just one day after her community came together to show their support. Anna Cunningham passed away Thursday — the day after more than 80 students, faculty and community members rallied at a head-shaving event to raise money for cancer research.
“It is with tremendous sadness that I have updated this video to reflect the passing of Anna Cunningham the day after the Basalt Bold & Bold event,” Barry Stevenson with Outside Adventure Media stated.
Anna, a junior at the school, had been battling Ewing sarcoma for over three years.
“She has fought, day in and day out, this cancer. And when she comes to Basalt High School, in these halls she comes with a spirit of life,” Principal Peter Mueller says in the video.
“We want this to be a day of joy and a day of celebration,” Mueller said. And it definitely was.
Some shaved their entire heads and more than two dozen people donated clippings of long hair to make medical hairpieces for children fighting cancer.
Despite knowing they didn’t have much time left Anna, it was an event filled with laughter, hugs and and flowers.
Mueller explained that Anna had decided to stop her treatments.
“[She] has opted, unfortunately, to stop her treatments and care for herself and her family in these last few months of her life,” Mueller explained in the video.
The very next day, officials broke the news to students that Anna had passed away at home with her family.
“Anna exemplified a gracious, fighting spirit who cared about succeeding in school and cared about others. In her honor, I hope that she continues to inspire all of us to be kind and gentle with one another as we work together to make the world a better place,” Mueller wrote.
To learn more about Ewing sarcoma, or to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research, visit stbaldricks.org/events/basalt.
To date, over $75,000 has been raised to support pediatric cancer research.