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3 months after hosting her own ‘FUNeral,’ Carmel girl dies of cancer at 17

CARMEL, Ind. – A Carmel girl who held her own “FUNeral” in the face of cancer has died at the age of 17.

Riley Hospital for Children says Miriam Sawka passed away on Jan. 31, but not before she got the bonus of one more Christmas and one more New Year’s that doctors feared she would not see.

Sawka suffered from Ewing sarcoma for several years, but made the decision to leave the hospital to spend precious time with her family.

The teen didn’t want to wait until she was gone to celebrate her life and the love she had for so many, so she decided to throw her own celebration.

“I don’t really like funerals,” Sawka said before her death. “I think it’s unnecessary how sad they are.”

Sawka hosted what she called her “FUNeral” to celebrate her life with family and friends. She labeled it “a party to die for” with food, music, games and a living funeral service.

“Miriam Sawka now has the answer to life’s greatest mystery. What happens after death? If we are believers, does our soul rise from our body to find peace and a heavenly home?” wrote IU Health journalist Maureen Gilmer. “Miriam believed in all of that, and she couldn’t wait to get to heaven, she told friends and family members.”

Sakwa said she was at peace with death and was looking forward to seeing her grandpa, uncle, and great grandmother.

Sawka, who asked to be cremated, wants her ashes spread over the places she loved, including cancer camps in Indiana and Michigan. The remainder of her ashes will stay with her little sister, Lizzie.

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