Cailin lived life to the fullest. She was an avid competitive swimmer, medaling at FL Age Group Championships & earning a spot on the Zones team. Cailin competed, & was represented as one of Florida’s top 8 swimmers just weeks before her life changing diagnosis of cancer. She was as strong in the classroom as she was in the pool. Cailin was a member of the National Honor Society. Her diligence was recognized when she received the Perseverance Award at AHN. Later, it was renamed The Cailin Cannella Award in her honor. Her hard work, dedication, & determination was evident through every obstacle she encountered.
She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in her femur, with metastasis to the lungs on Sept. 9, 2016, the day of her 13th Birthday. She never missed a practice. Until, one day, the knee pain was too intense to bear. The phrase “CailinStrong” was coined shortly after diagnosis, symbolizing her determination to fight. She was still training in the pool after starting chemotherapy treatments, and a hurricane off the coast, bringing high winds & rain. Nothing was stopping Cailin from doing what she loved the most.
After multiple surgeries, & many failed treatments, the tumors in her lungs had grown so large that they became inoperable. After exhausting efforts from experts around the world, Cailin lost her courageous battle to Osteosarcoma & gained her angel wings on Sept. 18, 2017.
The beautiful picture of Cailin with the rainbow in the background, symbolizes her story of Strength, Hope, & Love. Cailin battled at the end. Struggling to take a breath, she smiled at me & said “Mommy, put your face next to mine.” As I rested my face gently next to her soft delicate skin, she whispered quietly, “Mommy, I Can Do This!” Once again, proving that she never lost Hope.
She is an inspiration to us all, & was our strength that bonded our Souls. Her smile, words of encouragement, determination, & strong faith, touched the lives of so many people, making a lasting impression on all who knew her. Cailin will be dearly missed by her mother Lisa, father Norman, & sister Ashlin until the day each one of us is reunited with her in heaven. The Cailin Strong Foundation will continue her legacy.