Pasco 3-year-old loses battle against cancer

By Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldNovember 9, 2012 

Clara Woodward finally is free of the pain that robbed her of growing up.

The 3-year-old Pasco girl died Wednesday after battling an aggressive cancer that took her eyesight and caused endless days of pain, her mother wrote in her blog, which has chronicled Clara's fight for life during the past year and a half.

Clara's parents, Brian and Natasha Woodward, and her four siblings are devastated by the loss, but they are finding solace that Clara finally is pain free.

"Never did I think the same blog that announced the birth of Clara would also announce her death," Natasha Woodward wrote. "I'm so proud of her. Our little angel finally let go. Free from pain and sickness. It's been the bitter-sweetest of days. All we have now are memories and we will continue to reminisce and look forward to the future with a resolve to be a little better each day."

The Herald wrote about Clara's fight against stage 4 neuroblastoma in July 2011 -- how there was little hope for her recovery and that her family struggled to deal with her impending death.

"We've tried to prepare ourselves to say goodbye more times than I can remember," Woodward said.

But her blond-haired, blue-eyed daughter always bounced back even after numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, surgery, and stem cell replacement therapy.

On Wednesday, Clara's body finally gave out.

"It was 8:25 in the morning when it happened and she went peacefully," Woodward told the Herald on Thursday. "There have been plenty of tears and prayers. All of her siblings wanted to hold her one more time and I think it helped them to do that, to say goodbye one last time, holding her in their arms."

Along with the overwhelming grief, there was a great sense of relief that her daughter no longer suffered, she added.

"We belong to that group of parents now who have helplessly watched their child suffer physical agony, and we won't be the last," Woodward said. "I spend my days thinking and planning what I will do for those parents who will one day experience what we are."

A funeral for Clara is planned for 11 a.m. Mondayat the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2015 N. 24th Ave., Pasco.

Donations can be made toward Clara's mounting medical bills in her name at Sterling Savings bank. Woodward's blog can be viewed at http://mommastimeout.blogspot.com/2012/11/she-free.html.

"I just hope some good may come of Clara's trial and our experience," Woodward said. "I have been forever changed and truly believe it has been for my good. Clara has been an amazing teacher."

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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