PRINCEVILLE - Michelle Lyn Loesch, 21, of Princeville died on Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, and is now safely in the arms of Jesus. She passed peacefully while holding the hand of her sister, Katie.
Michelle was born on Feb. 2, 1992, in Peoria to Donald John Michael Loesch and Lynda Diane Ring Gilbreath.
Michelle grew up in Princeville. She attended Princeville Grade School, Princeville High School, Raymond S. Kellis High School (Glendale, Ariz.), and graduated from Peoria Heights High School.
Michelle enjoyed her childhood in the big old yellow house on Main Street. She enjoyed traveling with her family to Florida and had fond memories of family cruises. Shelling at Lover's Key State Park, reinforced her nickname of "Chelle-Chelle or Chelle-Belle." Disney World and Universal Studios were favorites too! Summer vacations with her grandfather and family were yearly delights. Her time spent in Arizona with her mother, opened her eyes to the beauty of the western landscape. Moving back home to Illinois from Arizona, she attended school and lived in Peoria Heights.
While wanting to play high school volleyball, she discovered that she had continuous pain in her back and legs. This pain turned out to be a rare form of Ewing's Sarcoma. This diagnosis and initial surgery, was on Oct. 2, 2008. With strength, courage and determination, Michelle marched along to radiation and endured almost a year of chemotherapy. Needles and hospitals, once feared, became casual fixtures in her day to day life.
A benefit hosted by friends and cousins at the Pizza Hut in Kewanee, aided in financial support and encouraged her during a rough time. Princeville High School friends added support by forming two teams at a local Relay for Life. High School was a struggle, her pain was intense. Michelle was able to graduate from high school, due to the help and tutelage from her cousin, who she also lived with for a time. Her cancer returned. Many more surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy followed, in what we frustratingly called "Cancer Round Two." What also followed was nothing short of miraculous. Old neighbors and good family friends, organized a benefit, "Miracle for Michelle." Good attendance by friends and local Princeville acquaintances provided a trust fund to be set up and allowed Michelle time to live independently. This had been a goal of hers for some time. The Make-A-Wish Foundation aided in her dream with the donation of a car.
Living life on her own was challenging. Uncountable hours were spent with help from family and friends, especially her father, mother, sisters, aunts and cousins. She attended Illinois Central College taking classes with a focus in Forensic Science. She worked for a short time at both Flowers by Freres and at Target.
She had a love for the outdoors, enjoyed her cats and aquariums and liked collecting shells. Time was spent watching movies, looking at magazines, shopping and leisurely enjoying her surroundings.
In February of this year, a day before her 21st birthday, terrible news arrived again. With hope and more courage, "Cancer Round Three" was to be survived. Radiation was tolerated but chemotherapy was not. Michelle succumbed to complications involving a suppressed immune system.
When often asked about her life she would respond with the statement, "I was only given this life, because I was strong enough to live it."
Our family would like to thank all of those listed and mentioned above, in addition the Midwest Affiliate of St. Jude's, doctors and nurses of the Pediatric Intermediate Care Unit, the Illinois Neurological Institute, Jill's House (Bloomington, Ind.), the Indiana University Proton Center, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Society, and the prayers and support from numerous local churches and individuals.
She is survived by her father, John Loesch of Princeville; her mother, Lynda (Douglas) Gilbreath of Guthrie, Okla.; two sisters, Katie (Aaron) Ehnle of Edlestein and Nicole Shelton of Creve Coeur; four nieces; cousins; and her two cats, Emmitt and Tiger.
She was preceded in death by paternal grandparents, Donald E. and Patricia Sutherland Loesch; and maternal grandparents, Wilfred D. and Dorothy Terwilliger Ring.
Services will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 8, 2013, at Hammitt-Hott Funeral Home in Princeville. Dean Ring and Joe Cable will officiate. Burial will be in the Hoyle Cemetery in McNabb. Visitation will be from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, 2013, at Hammitt-Hott Funeral Home in Princeville.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family to help with final arrangements.
Hammitt-Hott Funeral Home in Princeville is in charge of arrangements.
Private condolences may be sent to the family via http://www.hammitthott.com/.