Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Monday, April 23, 2007

Update On Stevie

I hate to keep writing of bad news and sad things, but sometimes bad things come in waves, and lately it's beginning to feel like a tidal wave.

Stevie, the daughter of my friend whom I wrote about last month, passed away last Thursday.

I thank those who prayed for and who asked about her, their family greatly appreciates the concern and compassion of so many.

- Kathleen

From the Contra Costa Times:

Family believes prayers aided teen

  • DUBLIN: Many responded to request for 10 minutes of positive thoughts for 19-year-old who fell to brain cancer

By Jeanine Benca
Contra Costa Times

Article Launched:04/21/2007 03:02:33 AM PDT

The family of a 19-year-old girl who died this week of brain cancer says it believes she is looking down from heaven, thanking everyone for their help.

Dublin teenager Stevie McMoyler was unique in every respect, right up to the end, when she inspired hundreds of people -- from self-professed atheists to Anglican bishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu -- to send her their positive thoughts and prayers.

"She wasn't your typical teenager. She was incredibly unique as far as being just so sweet," her father, Steve McMoyler, said tearfully Thursday. "We thank people for those 10 minutes."

Last month, McMoyler's parents came up with an idea they hoped would generate a miracle for their daughter. They posted a Craigslist ad asking people to "take a 10 minute break" and think warm thoughts, from 3 p.m. to 3:10 p.m. March 17, for Stevie, the lifelong victim of brain tumors.

The response was astounding. Dozens of calls and e-mails, including ones from Tutu and Apple CEO Steve Jobs, came pouring in from around the country and world. The family heard from old neighbors and acquaintances they hadn't spoken to in years, McMoyler said.

Despite the efforts, Stevie's health continued to decline. The one-time swimmer and honors student at Venture High School in San Ramon died Thursday at John Muir hospital, surrounded by family and friends. A vegan who loved to cook, she had planned to apply to the food and science program at Cornell University.

There's no way to tell exactly how many people prayed for Stevie during those 10 minutes March 17, but their help was not in vain, her father said.

The last time doctors measured Stevie's tumor, shortly before she died, it appeared the mass had stopped growing -- a sign that maybe a miracle did occur, he said.

"I believe she beat the tumor," McMoyler said.

The tumor that killed Stevie was the second one she battled during her short life. She was first diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 13 and underwent surgery to remove it. When she was diagnosed that time, before her surgery, her family held prayer circles at their Dublin home, and they believe that the power of positive thinking helped Stevie beat cancer the first time around.

In November, Stevie's doctor at Stanford University discovered a more aggressive malignant tumor in her brain. She began exhausting rounds of radiation and chemotherapy.

Those who knew Stevie will remember her as a girl who stood out from others her age, not only because of her courage and grace in fighting cancer, but also because of her "old-fashioned and quaint" sensibilities, family members said.

Stevie, her father said, "liked things that were down to earth and real and substantial."

"She had no interest in anything superficial. She was just very, very good," McMoyler said.

A self-described "proud nerd," Stevie aspired to be a world-champion Scrabble player.

Funeral arrangements have not been made, but family members say they hope to hold services at the old St. Raymond's Catholic Church in Dublin, part of the city's historical park -- a traditional place that seems "so Stevie," her father said.

Stevie is also survived by her mother, Gina, her sister, Alyssa and her brother, Noah.

Times staff writer Sophia Kazmi contributed to this story. Reach Jeanine Benca at or 925-847-2125.

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