“There’s a hole left in your soul, your heart shatters and your body goes numb.”
Kira Dunnah-Chamberlin was the most vivacious 11-year-old one could imagine. She was always active: playing soccer, basketball, and a member of the swim team. She loved crafting and DIY kits. Born the second of four children but the eldest girl, Kira was lovingly referred to as the “little mother” of her siblings. Her love for them was nothing short of her mother’s love for her own children.
“When I lost my daughter, my world became dark,” says Kira’s mother, Shamika Chamberlin. “Everything that I’ve known was now a question mark. My world was crumbling. As a mom, you never think of losing a child. Instead, you spend part of your parenting, preparing your child to lose you. There’s a dark place that you go to when this happens.”
Kira was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic Ewing sarcoma in December 2016. She faced her diagnosis like a champ, enduring biopsies, a port implant, a prosthetic limb implant, blood transfusions and countless rounds of chemotherapy. Kira persevered through 11 months of treatment with grace and a bit of humor. She always enjoyed a hearty laugh.
In November 2017, only ten days after Kira’s last round of chemotherapy, she and her family learned that her cancer had returned. In true warrior spirit, Kira prepared herself for another fight. But this time, things were a bit different as her doctors couldn’t quite identify her type of cancer. They worked feverishly to decide on the best treatment plan, and when the decision was made, Kira readied herself.
“When that treatment stopped working, she surrendered to the thought of not surviving,” Chamberlin says. “And at that moment, she became a parent; preparing me and our family for her departure.”
Kira endured two additional rounds of treatment before gaining her angel wings on January 31, 2018. Although many may not find Kira’s battle victorious, her family finds victory in knowing that Kira is no longer suffering. And it is that thought alone that brings them peace. Kira loved good food and music and would often post dance videos on her Instagram and musical social media sites. Her family would like her to be remembered as their dancing angel.
“There’s a hole left in your soul, your heart shatters and your body goes numb,” Chamberlin says. “But there is also a time where light creeps in. A time when you cope; when you deal; and when you grieve. There comes a time where healing begins and you no longer surrender to the pain but you embrace it as a part of the healing process.” ◆