Spanaway 4-year-old whose cancer fight garnered headlines dies

A Spanaway 4-year-old who made headlines for her lifelong cancer battle and the ways she sought to overcome it died Sunday, her mother announced on Facebook.

Ellie Walton was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 4 months old. It ended up growing to a third the size of her brain. She endured at least 28 rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and 17 surgeries.

“Ellie gained the strongest and most beautiful wings this morning around 8:30,” Sarah Walton wrote Sunday morning. “Right now I have no words, other than thank God for making me her momma.”

The Walton family was a frequent subject of former News Tribune columnist Larry LaRue, who chronicled their struggles. He wrote that she was known for her smile and her laugh, but as her condition worsened, the smiles seemed to come only after interacting with her older sister, Ava.

Ellie and Ava together collected hundreds of postcards from well-wishers, a project they started because Ellie’s condition did not allow her to travel.

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