EVANS CITY — Cheyannia Marburger’s mother, Deb Plaisted, and many others attending the 13th annual Cranberry CUP opening ceremonies in August were moved to tears as a beaming Cheyannia received her Little Miss Cranberry CUP tiara and sash from Miss Pittsburgh Stephanie Scarci.
Those tears are flowing again as Cheyannia, 8, died Friday from an inoperable brain stem tumor.
Cheyannia’s family was named the Cranberry CUP’s Inspirational Family this year because of the young girl’s courageous battle with the aggressive cancer. The Cranberry CUP, Community Uniting People, chooses a family to assist each year by holding a golf outing and party, and softball games that pit neighborhoods, businesses and organizations against one another to raise funds.
At the August event, Cheyannia rode on a red fire engine owned by the Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Department. She also received tickets to the Pittsburgh Zoo and a Rapunzel doll from Scarci.
Cranberry CUP president Cathy Cortazzo was almost as delighted as Cheyannia at the happy expression on the young girl’s face during the opening ceremony. Now, Cortazzo takes comfort in knowing Cranberry CUP organizers did all they could to help Cheyannia’s family as they struggled with her disease.
“The Cranberry Cup community did such wonderful things for Cheyannia and her family,” Cortazzo said Monday. “We have wonderful memories and happy smiles to hang onto.”
The form of childhood cancer Cheyannia had kills 90 percent of victims within 18 months and 97 percent within three years. Typical survival time is nine to 12 months.
Cheyannia was a second-grader at Connoquenessing Valley Elementary School before her diagnosis.
“We knew Cheyannia’s illness could take a drastic turn at any time,” Cortazzo said. “It’s so sad.”
Funeral services for Cheyannia, who also is survived by her father, Carl E. Marburger of Zelienople, and many other family members and friends, were to be held Tuesday night in Zelienople.
Donations in her memory can be made to St. Jude’s Brain Stem Glioma, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.
Her obituary appears on Page 6.