One of the Keweenaw's brightest lights was dimmed this week with the passing of 4-year Brody Etelamaki. The courageous toddler from Chassell lost his nearly year-long battle with pediatric brain cancer.
Throughout his struggle, little Brody shined as an example to all of us. According to Kurt Hauglie's Page 1 article in Thursday's Daily Mining Gazette, Brody's mother Tanya said her son handled his entire ordeal with remarkable good spirits.
His treatments took Brody and his family, from Chassell, to Houston, Ann Arbor and Marshfield, Wis.
But despite the travel, the grueling treatments and the pain, one thing remained constant - his smile. "He was a remarkable little boy," Tanya Etelamaki told Hauglie. "He smiled through the whole thing."
If there is a silver lining to be found in this story, it is that Brody's journey not only brought his family closer together, but it united an entire community. Fundraising events were held throughout the region, including a Make-a-Wish snowmobile ride-in, and "Shoot for the Cure" events at two Chassell basketball games.
In addition to financial assistance, the family was lifted in prayer by several local churches and groups.
The support of the community did not go unnoticed by Brody and his family.
"We couldn't have gotten through the year without it," Tanya said of the communities involvement.
There's little we can say at a time such as this. Our heart breaks for Brody's family, Tanya and dad Douglas along with brother and sisters Ryan, Madeline, Ally and Lily.
But as we grieve along with them, we remain inspired by the courage, faith, good spirit and class by which the entire family showed during this devastating ordeal.
And our wish, in his absence, is that we may carry ourselves through our daily troubles and challenges with the same spirit and courage as he and his family have shown. In this, his light will continue to shine brightly for a long, long time.