By CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado woman who is believed to be one of the youngest women in the U.S. to ever develop ovarian cancer has lost her fight. Peyton Linafelter was diagnosed at age 16. She died Nov. 24, 2020, at age 20.

Peyton Linafelter

(credit: Tera Gharrity)

The disease usually strikes women in their 60s. Peyton fought it for 5 years.

She was breathtakingly beautiful.

“She just had this aura that shone from the inside out,” said Tera Gharrity, Peyton’s mother.

She was beyond brave.

“She never stopped fighting,” said Tera.

The battle began when Peyton was just 15.

“My stomach started expanding to the point that I looked like I was 5 months pregnant,” Peyton told Health Specialist Kathy Walsh back in 2016.

Peyton Linafelter

(credit: CBS4)

On her 16th birthday, Peyton learned she had stage 4 ovarian cancer, cancer that usually strikes women four times her age.

“This is all cancer. All that white should not be there,” explained her gynecologic oncologist Dr. Saketh Guntupalli at the time.

A 10 hour surgery and eight rounds of chemotherapy were part of her aggressive treatment at University of Colorado Hospital. Peyton was eventually deemed cancer free.

Peyton Linafelter

(credit: Tera Gharrity)

She became a fashion model … often letting her scars tell her story. She was also a role model, an inspiration. But the cancer came back.

“We treated it. She had a great response, but then it came back again,” said Guntupalli.

Peyton hung on for a year even though there was no hope. She died in November at age 20.

Peyton taught the world that ovarian cancer doesn’t just strike mothers and grandmothers.

“She’s brought so much awareness to the disease through her advocacy,” said Guntupalli.

“We’re all better for knowing her,” said her tearful mother. “She will save hundreds and thousands of lives.”

Peyton requested that any giving be made to Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, in honor of Peyton Linafelter.

Kathy Walsh