Community celebrates life of Lilee-Jean

Abbotsford Pentecostal was packed on Saturday as people came to celebrate the all-too-brief life of Lilee-Jean Putt.

Lilee-Jean Putt (Dec. 5

Even a short life can have a tremendous impact on thousands of people.

A full house of about 1,000 people gathered to celebrate the life of little Lilee-Jean Putt at Abbotsford Pentecostal Assembly this Saturday.

“We’re all very sad, and very angry, but for today we’ve decided to have a celebration of life,” said dad Andrew Putt. “Most importantly, we can celebrate all the families that Lilee helped bring closer together and all the love she brought to each one of us.”

In her two years and nine months of life, Chilliwack/Abbotsford girl Lilee-Jean touched thousands of others. Born Dec. 5, 2010, she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a brain cancer, just 10 months later. Lilee-Jean passed away on Sept. 6, 2013, after a public battle with the disease.

Other families may have turned inward at such a time. But Lilee-Jean’s relatives drew the community around them and opened their arms to receive support.

Lilee-Jean Putt at B.C. Children's HospitalMom Chelsey Whittle blogged about the family’s experience on loveforlilee.com and through a Facebook page, which to date has over 13,000 “likes.”

“Chelsey made sure that we were always positive, involved, and happy around Lilee. There was to be no sadness, or pity around her. Just an outpouring of love, smiles, and laughter,” said Charles Wiebe, great-uncle to Lilee-Jean.

Dad Andrew, a singer for the band Pardon My Striptease, released a song in 2011 in honour of his daughter to fundraise for B.C. Children’s Hospital. The song “Pray (For LJ)” rose to #1 on the iTunes chart. Nickelback accepted Pardon My Striptease’s challenge to match donations if the song topped the charts, and along with the band’s publisher gave $100,000 to the hospital.

The Putts and Whittles lived by a motto through the difficult time. As they wrote on a slideshow at the final celebration of life just before playing a video of Lilee-Jean dancing: “There is no better way to fight disease, and to fight death, than to live.”

Andrew Putt, Lilee-Jean Putt, and Chelsey Whittle in Hawaii.In June, parents Andrew and Chelsey sent Lilee-Jean to her first kindergarten class. In August, they held Halloween and Christmas celebrations because they weren’t sure whether their daughter would see another holiday. They continued updating the community through social media even as Lilee-Jean was taken into Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver.

At the celebration of life, family members spoke of memories of laughs, jokes, games and music shared with the little girl.

“Her vocabulary was filled with love and joyful words, and her words and smile brought light and love everywhere that she went, and every person she met became her best friend,” said grandmother Mary Putt.

The spirit of Lilee-Jean has been permanently etched onto the hearts of thousands.

akonevski@abbynews.com
twitter.com/alinakonevski

Just Posted

Work on the Mission seniors’ centre, housing project to start in the fall

Facility consists of an 11,000 square foot community centre with 74 studios above it

Charge laid in Abbotsford motorcycle crash that killed Maple Ridge woman

Megan Kinnee, 19, died in collision on July 13, 2018

Young musicians get chance to win opening act spot at Chilliwack Fair

Three finalists will vie for top spot at the Fair’s Saturday night show

Abbotsford couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

PHOTOS: Fraser Valley Pride Celebration kicks off in Mission

The Stage hosted two events, including the fundraising dinner and talent showcase

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read