Flathead County Coverage

Dec 15, 2012 8:54 PM by Laura Wilson - KAJ News

Teenage Columbia Falls cancer victim remembered

COLUMBIA FALLS - Friday, a community celebrated the life of a 17-year-old Columbia Falls girl who died Monday from cancer. A girl who was a friend to all and who won't soon be forgotten.

It was a mixture of laughter and tears Wednesday afternoon at a memorial service for Taylor Peterson.

Though her life was short-lived, Peterson touched an entire Columbia Falls community, evident by the hundreds of people at St. Richard's Catholic Church.

"While this certainly is a day of sorrow and a day of sadness, it is also a day of celebration of a life well lived."

Peterson had been battling spindle-cell carcinoma for about a year and half. After the cancer spread from her jaw to the rest of her body, doctors gave her only a few months to live.

Those who spoke at the memorial didn't speak about Taylor's battle with cancer. Instead, they described a girl who was full of life, who never missed an opportunity to smile.

Taylor's friend Alex Presnell says she was caring and compassionate, adding that Taylor was the first person to befriend him when he came to school at Columbia Falls High School.

"A lot of people looked up to her. She was really an inspiration, it's amazing to see how many people supported her," Presnell said.

"She knew she was going to die, but she was positive about it and she still tried to do things. She didn't want people to treat her any differently, she wanted to be treated like a normal person. That's what I liked about her."

Friends and family hope Taylor will be remembered for her sense of humor, contagious laughter, and for being a great friend to so many of her peers.

Another celebration will is Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Columbia Falls gymnasium.

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