Elizabeth Finley Broaddus
Elizabeth Finley Broaddus, 18, pictured in the hills
near her grandmother's home in Morgan Hill, CA (family photo).
Elizabeth Finley Broaddus' mother, Julie, entreats us:
"Please smile when you see nature in its glory, laugh at our own foolishness, and bear all things with strength and selflessness - and to pay her tribute, remember to care for this planet as she cared so much. In this way you will help to keep her with us."
This vibrant young Virginian had earned early acceptance to the College of William and Mary for the fall semester of 2014. In 2013, the Broad Run teenager won the 5th Congressional District Art Contest with a pencil drawing she based on a church near Vint Hill.
Members of Finley's extended family in California and Texas arranged for the Redwood Forest Foundation (RFFI) to plant 25 redwoods in her honor after a rare form of liver cancer claimed
the teenager's life. This tribute (at right) was a particularly fitting celebration of Elizabeth's life, for she was an avid supporter of tree-planting projects.
While battling the incurable cancer that was diagnosed in December 2013, she set up
Finley's Green Leap Forward. Read about her work, in support of "local and global efforts that have a positive impact on the environment, moving us forward towards a healthy, sustainable planet" at:
Friends and family members set a goal to raise at least $18,000 for Elizabeth's 18th birthday on March 12, 2014. By that date, donations to the fund had surpassed $74,000. By Earth Day 2014 they had raised $100,000.
"Finley's Fight" ended on June 2, 2014. A rare form of liver cancer claimed Elizabeth Finley Broaddus, a Highland School senior. Finley, 18, died at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where specialists had treated her for cholangiocarcinoma since February.
Throughout the cancer treatment, her mother, Julie Broaddus, posted regular updates on the "Finley's Fight" Facebook page to share news about clinical trials and her daughter's status. Late on June 2, 2014, Mrs. Broaddus shared the sad news:
"Hello dear friends, family, and others who have been so supportive of Finley and her fight with cancer.
We are so sorry to bring news that will break so many hearts today. Finley's body was not as strong as her spirit, and this morning we've had to give up the privilege of sharing this world with her. Although it feels like a terrible loss, we try to think of Finley as a gift. We are all so grateful for the 18 beautiful years we had with her.
Please smile when you see nature in its glory, laugh at our own foolishness, and bear all things with strength and selflessness - and to pay her tribute, remember to care for this planet as she cared so much. In this way you will help to keep her with us.
Much love and gratitude to all of you,"
Julie, Ike, Coleman, and Callie
Finley continues to inspire thousands through her courage and her foundation to
support global environmental causes. Finley's Green Leap Forward awarded its first two grants of $5,000 each to:
- The Green Belt Movement in Nairobi, Kenya.
- The Cacapon Institute in High View, W.Va.
This tribute was made through RFFI's
Plant a Redwood Now.
RFFI is proud to play a part in honoring this exceptional young woman who remains an inspiration and standard bearer for our mission and work.