Lillian’s Story


At the tender age of eight months, Lillian Trippe had just learned to crawl and was busily exploring her Oregon surroundings. She was also setting out on a much more challenging journey – a fight against acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Throughout hundreds of days of chemotherapy, radiation, medications and bone marrow transplants, Lilli’s amazing spirit continued to shine brightly. She found joy in night-time races around the ward, friendships with other children and time spent with family.

As more people learned of this child who sang, danced and smiled in the face of leukemia, communities began to get involved in Lilli’s fight. They shaved their heads for her. They climbed a 69-story building in her honor, wrote a song just for her, built her a playhouse, and so much more to celebrate a little girl who was a beacon of hope to everyone she met.

A bone marrow transplant in 2008 blessed Lilli with 440 blissful days of remission, and her family dared to hope that she had overcome leukemia. Though Lilli’s spirits remained high, the cancer would return and more treatments would be needed.

While visiting her grandmother in Tennessee in the spring of 2011, Lilli became very ill. She was hospitalized in a facility that was unable to manage her complex health issues and it was crucial that she return to the oncology team who had been treating her for nearly her entire life. Since Lilli was much too sick to travel commercially, her family tried desperately to find an air ambulance to transport her across the country, but obstacles appeared at every turn.

Nearly out of hope, the family turned to grandmother Nancy, a nurse case manager who understood the intricacies of healthcare. Nancy called Angel MedFlight, whom she knew through the company’s involvement in the Case Management Society of America. Within two days, Angel MedFlight flew Lilli via air ambulance, reuniting her with the oncologists whose familiarity with her medical history would help her have the best chance at a positive outcome.

Lilli returned to her medical team in Oregon to receive somber news. The leukemia had spread and treatment options had been exhausted. Lilli lived out her days surrounded by her family, her dogs, and incredible amounts of love.

The radiant three-year-old who touched the lives of people everywhere lost her courageous battle with cancer on July 5, 2011, just six days shy of her fourth birthday.

Lilly leaves the world with a legacy of hope. In dark times and in light, she lived life to the fullest. She had cancer, but cancer never defined her.