After a nearly two-year struggle with cancer, Isaac Steiner has died.
The Jefferson Township boy’s fight had generated an outpouring of support across Elkhart County and his death Wednesday afternoon, March 6, was met with sadness.
“It’s been a long road,” Dustin Kaehr, a Steiner family friend, said Thursday. “The last several weeks had been hard on everybody.”
Isaac, 7, a student at Jefferson Elementary School, died at Elkhart Hospice House, surrounded by family, according to Kaehr. He’s survived by his parents, Rob and Sarah Steiner, and two brothers, Jonah and Eli.
Isaac was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer in June 2011, when he was just 5. He traveled to Indianapolis for care at hospitals there and as of September last year, seemed to be on the mend.
The cancer came back with a vengeance, though.
“It was a long, arduous battle with cancer,” said Kaehr. “I think there’s a sense that we’re thankful that Isaac’s struggle is over.”
There’s plenty of sadness, too, and Kaehr said counselors were on hand Thursday at Jefferson Elementary School to help students deal with the loss.
Through it all, friends, strangers and family pitched in to help the Steiner family with their considerable medical expenses and to show support. In October 2011, supporters gathered at Belmont Mennonite Church in Elkhart to shave their heads in a show of solidarity with Isaac, who had lost his hair due to cancer treatment, netting some $20,000.
Early last December, hundreds gathered for a benefit run and bake sale at Jefferson Elementary School.
“I think it speaks to the power of community, and there are so many people who have rallied around (the Steiners),” said Kaehr. The Steiner family “couldn’t say thank you enough or too many times.”
Family members ask that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions go to the Isaac R. Steiner Scholarship Endowment Fund at Goshen College, the alma mater of the elder Steiners. The endowment is being created to help provide scholarships to future nursing students, a tribute “to the excellent nursing care Isaac received throughout his illness,” according to Goshen College spokesman Richard Aguirre.
Contributions should be sent to Goshen College Development Office, 1700 S. Main St., Goshen, IN, 46526. Please write “Isaac Steiner Endowment Scholarship” in the memo line of checks.
Viewing is scheduled for March 15 and a memorial is to be held at March 16. Kaehr didn’t immediately have additional details.