Do you remember our Great Canadian Turtle Race? A couple of years ago, our partners, The Canadian Sea Turtle Network, tagged ten leatherback sea turtles off the Atlantic coast. And we all watched these majestic turtles make their way to their nesting sites. Some reached land successfully, while others lost their transmitters along the way.

One turtle we lost track of during the race, Lily Rose, was found in 2013 on the beaches of French Guiana. We were delighted to find her safe and sound. You see, this turtle was particularly special to us. She was named after a three year old girl battling neuroblastoma, a form of cancer.

Miss Lily Rose Rosploch was truly a fighter. And even in the midst of her battle with cancer, Lily Rose chose to love people all the more (including her baby sister, Mya). And raise other people’s spirits up by making them laugh.

This weekend, our friends at the Canadian Sea Turtle Network wrote to let us know that this brave little girl passed away on January 31st, at the age of five. We were heartbroken by the news. Although we never had the pleasure to meet Lily Rose, she made a big impact on our lives. She reminded us then and reminds us now that grace and kindness are the greatest companions for the hard journeys life throws our way. We’d like to thank Lily Rose for lending her name to one of Canada’s most Endangered animals on its own difficult journey, and for inspiring each and every one of us at the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

You can read the heartfelt words from the Canadian Sea Turtle Network’s blog here.