Daron Michelle Howley
October 14, 1988 - December 14, 2005
Eastside teen loses battle with brain cancer
by Mary Swift, Journal Reporter
She battled to survive but in the end, Daron Howley did not live to see Christmas. Daron, who turned 17 in October, died early Wednesday afternoon at her mother's home in Bellevue after a 19-month battle with brain cancer. Family members and a hospice nurse were at her side.
“They told me she just kind of stopped breathing, then took a couple of breaths. My sister told me her eyes got wide and bright and then she took one last breath and was gone," said Tara Hammond, one of Daron's three siblings. Hammond, who lives in Washington, D.C., made a desperate attempt to get here on Wednesday but did not arrive before Daron died.
Daron's story was widely known on the Eastside, where she had played soccer for years. “The phone is ringing off the hook. People are knocking on the door. Flowers keep arriving," Hammond said Thursday. “A lot of people knew her." Friday a memorial mass for Daron is scheduled at 9 a.m. today at St. Jude's Catholic Church in Redmond where she was baptized.
As a ninth-grader still at Rose Hill Junior High, Daron tried out for and made the Lake Washington High varsity soccer team. Friends from Crossfire, a youth soccer organization, raised the money to buy her a letterman's jacket after she got sick. She'll be buried in a light blue casket. Two thousand paper cranes --made by soccer players in the community -- will be buried with her. “They gave them to her to bring good luck and good health," Hammond said. “They were important to her."
A celebration of Daron's life will follow at 3:30 p.m. at St. Jude's. Caprice LaVigna. A family friend will give the eulogy and invite others to share stories of Daron's life and influence. “One of the things she's going to do is read one of Daron's poems," Hammond said. "She wrote a lot. She wrote about a lot of different things. She stopped when she got sick. Her hands didn't work right any more and she had problems putting the words together."
Hammond said Daron was fluent in Japanese and wanted to be an exchange student in Japan. “She was also an excellent cellist," Hammond said. "She was trying to teach my daughter some of it." Hammond said Daron's death at such a young age doesn't seem fair. “She didn't deserve it," she said. "She had a lot of ideas about things she wanted to do. She was a really good student, a kid who didn't get in trouble. “She obviously had a lot of friends and we know she touched a lot of hearts."
The community reached out to help Daron while she was sick. Hammond said now Daron could use one final favor. Daron's battle with cancer strapped her mother's finances. “We don't have a headstone for Daron," Hammond said. “We need to get a nice headstone."
St. Jude's Catholic Church 10526 166th Ave NE Redmond, WA 98053
Memorial Mass - 9:00 a.m. Friday 12/16 Graveside Service - 2:00 p.m. Friday 12/16 Celebration of Life - 3:30 p.m. Friday 12/16
To help purchase a headstone for Daron please send donations to Daron's sister, Brodie Rota, at 2006 SW 306th Lane, Federal Way 98023.