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Isla Short, the little girl who inspired Deer Lake to change its name, has died

Isla Short from Deer Lake is battling cancer is inspiring people near and far for the past 18 months.
Isla Short from Deer Lake is battling cancer is inspiring people near and far for the past 18 months. - Submitted

Isla Short was a little girl who touched the hearts of people who knew her and knew only of her.

It was because of her that the people of her hometown of Deer Lake came together on more than one occasion to rally behind and support her family as she fought a battle with cancer.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Isla, the daughter of Michael and Sarah Short, died at the Janeway Children’s Hospital in St. John’s on Wednesday.

Isla was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma in December 2015 and had been undergoing treatment at the Janeway.

From the time of her diagnosis the community showed its support by holding fundraisers, prayer circles, carol sings and supporting events aimed at raising funds for the Janeway.

In May, her uncle Dan Bursey, a singer/songwriter and children’s performer, released a book in her honour. “A Town Called Islaview” is based on a poem he wrote shortly after her diagnosis. Islaview sounds like “I love you.”

The book was released on May 26 and for that day the Town of Deer Lake showed its love for Isla by becoming the Town of Islaview.

At the time Bursey said it seemed like people wanted to come together to do something and they were hungry to help. He said when a child gets sick she becomes everyone’s niece, and everyone’s granddaughter and everyone’s daughter.

Her death has affected her community and beyond.

Premier Dwight Ball tweeted that “The Town of Islaview (Deer Lake) lost its brave leader — she is forever in our hearts.”

The Deer Lake Redwings plan to change its name to the Islaview Redwings until Nov. 11.

Isla’s life will be celebrated Sunday at 2 p.m. at Emmanuel Pentecostal Church.

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