Megan McNeil: Celebration of Life

Megan McNeil Celebration of Life

A celebration of life was held for Megan McNeil on February 19th, 2011 at the Bell Centre for Performing Arts in Surrey, which over 700 attended. Special thanks to the hosts Sophie Lui and Steve Darling, as well as the wonderful performers Ryan McMahon and Cory Woodward. The event began with guests being shown the original video and performance of Will To Survive given by Megan while receiving her treatments at BCCH. It was then followed by highlights of her life and featured photo videos, and moments shared by family, teachers, friends, hospital staff, and workmates. The afternoon finished with Susan McLennan featuring the Will To Survive campaign highlights and the final version of the WTS video and song that had been produced with the support of many people. This was an event that left guests saying they had never experienced anything like it! Special thanks from her parents Dave and Suzanne McNeil to all who helped organize this memorable afternoon.

As Megan’s time on earth drew to a close, she made some requests of us all. She wanted her work to continue, and for us all to fight for a day when no child died from childhood cancer. As a gesture of remembrance, her parents ask that you:

1. download her song from iTunes or Amazon and

2. share The Will to Survive video with as many as you can to help get her message out.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to BCCCPA and/or The James Fund. You may do so by going directly to their sites.

If you would like to honour Megan by providing corporate sponsorship or other support to assist with the costs surrounding The Will to Survive campaign and the Celebration of Life for Megan, please contribute by clicking the link below. Please note, this is not a charitable donation. Anyone requiring additional information is welcome to to email: susan at babbleoncom dot com.


Megan McNeil’s Obituary

Born in Vancouver on September 7, 1990, Megan died at Surrey Memorial of adrenal cancer on January 28, 2011, surrounded by family and friends. She was 20.

Megan is survived by her adoring family, including her parents, Suzanne and David and grandparents Helen McNeil, Carolyn and Ken Reeves, and Jean Peters. She is also survived by her partner, Ryan Kadoranian, and many dear friends who shared adventures with our irrepressible Megan as she crossed as many items off of her “bucket list” as she could, including parachuting, bungee jumping and zip-lining.

Megan captured hearts across North America and even overseas for her tireless campaign promoting childhood cancer awareness. She wrote a beautiful song about the childhood cancer journey called “The Will to Survive” that legendary producer Garth Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, Nickelback) produced.  Emerging star Ryan McMahon arranged the song and provided backup vocals.

Megan and “The Will to Survive” were featured on media outlets across the United States and Canada, with Canada AM naming her campaign one of the best stories of 2010 and CBC’s Connect with Mark Kelley naming her the most inspirational person of the year.

As Megan’s time to depart this earth grew near, she requested that those who love her continue her campaign to end childhood cancer through her song “The Will to Survive.”

As a gesture of remembrance, the family asks anyone wishing to honour Megan to download her song from iTunes and share The Will to Survive video on YouTube with those they treasure. Funds raised by downloads of Megan’s song benefit BCCCPA and The James Fund.

The family wishes to thank the BC Children’s Hospital Oncology division and Surrey Memorial Hospital, Child/Youth Services (CYS), Oncology Clinic for the excellent care Megan received over the course of her four and a half year illness.

There will be a celebration of Megan’s life on February 19. Details will be posted soon on and on Megan’s Facebook page: I Want to Give Children Fighting Cancer the Will to Survive.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The James Fund and BCCCPA.

Those wishing to help support Megan’s campaign to promote childhood cancer awareness through corporate sponsorship or other contributions and means should please email: susan at babbleoncom dot com.

Megan McNeil, singer, loses battle with childhood cancer

Megan McNeil

Discovered by top producer, Megan McNeil’s “The Will to Survive” captured hearts
across North America and gave hope to many

January 29, 2011 – Vancouver, BC – Megan McNeil, 20, a singer who captured the hearts of North Americans with her song about what it’s like to be a kid battling childhood cancer, has died. She had battled Adrenalcortical Carcinoma since she was 16.

Megan wrote The Will to Survive to lift the spirits of other kids in the chemo ward.  When legendary music producer Garth Richardson (Hedley, Rage Against the Machine) heard it, he knew he had to be the one to produce it, and a campaign to raise awareness to fight childhood cancer was born.

Canada AM selected Megan’s story one of the best of 2010 and CBC’s Connect with Mark Kelley selected it as the most inspirational story of the year. Tens of millions of people throughout Canada and the US learned more about childhood cancer thanks to Megan’s song and media campaign, and news features on her appeared as far away as England and Russia.

Megan is survived by her parents Suzanne and Dave McNeil. No details about a celebration of Megan’s life are currently available but will be made known when they are available.

The family is requesting privacy at this time but they have issued the following statement:

“Our daughter was our hero.  She taught us the meaning of bravery and inspired us every day with her own Will to Survive. She wrote her song as a gift to anyone who needed to be picked up on a very bad day. And when you are a family fighting childhood cancer, there are a lot of very bad days. We are so grateful for the many who have reached out to let us know how much her song meant to them. And we are so glad she was, and is, our daughter.”

Megan was clear in her final hours that she wanted her campaign to go on because, as she said, “Too many kids have died from childhood cancer and it’s got to stop.”

Megan considered it her personal mission to tell the world how terribly underfunded research is into childhood cancer. She also wanted everyone to know that research into adult cancers does not do much to help kids but research into childhood cancers helps everyone, including adults.

Proceeds from “The Will to Survive”  go to childhood cancer organizations, including The James Fund for Neuroblastoma Research, which funds the James Birrell Laboratories at The Hospital for Sick Children and its research into neuroblastoma, one of the deadliest childhood cancers; and BCCCPA. The Will to Survive is for sale on iTunes and also on

BCCCPA, founded in November of 2002, is a registered non-profit charitable society whose mission is to provide financial support to families of a child with cancer and raise awareness for children and youth with cancer and blood disorders. BCCCPA’s Family Financial Aid Program is a prime example of how some of this support and awareness is designed and delivered. Other BCCCPA activities include annual grants to childhood cancer research projects along with advocacy for initiatives and programs that help to enhance the quality of life for children and youth with cancer and blood disorders.

The James Fund was established by the family of James Birrell to generate funds and knowledge leading to new therapies for the treatment of patients with neuroblastoma, one of the most frequent cause of disease-related death in children. James died of the disease in 2001 at the age of 8.  James Fund researchers are recognized globally, and have taken the top neuroblastoma research award in the world. The James Fund and its benefactor, The James Birrell Research Laboratories at The Hospital for Sick Children, are considered by many as the best hope kids battling neuroblastoma have. To date, seventeen research projects have been funded, twenty-five papers published, a drug-testing unit has been established, eight international collaborations are underway, and a new clinical trial is  bringing new hope to the parents of children suffering from this terrible childhood cancer. Hollywood actor Tom Hanks is its Honourary Patron.

There is a Facebook Page called I want to give children fighting cancer The Will to Survive where fans can post their messages to the family. The website is and the video in support of the song is at The song can be purchased on iTunes at and on Amazon at



Sad news

It is with a very heavy heart that we tell you of the passing of Megan McNeil. She died yesterday at the age of 20, having battled childhood cancer since she was 16. To learn more, please read the press release surrounding Megan McNeil’s death. Details about services and other information will be forthcoming as they become available.

In the meantime, the family asks that you share her video of The Will to Survive with those you love and that you download The Will to Survive song from iTunes. Proceeds go to support the fight against chidhood cancer, including two of Megan’s favourite causes: The James Fund and BCCCPA.

The family requests privacy at this time, but thanks everyone for their support and for sharing the gift of Megan and her song.