Leah Marie Chelsky, 24, was born on July 22, 1995 to Ronald Chelsky and Linda Chelsky in Portland, OR. She passed away peacefully at her family’s home in Happy Valley, OR on March 6, 2020 after more than a three year battle with osteosarcoma.
Leah Chelsky grew up in a loving family with her older brother, her older sister, and her twin sister. Leah attended Happy Valley Elementary, Sunrise Middle School, and Clackamas High School before attending University of Oregon where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. Leah grew up attending art classes at Fine Art Starts and enjoyed dancing, gymnastics, piano playing, volleyball, reading, and creating websites. As she grew older, she enjoyed playing the flute in her high school band and she found her appreciation for environmental science. In college, she explored this passion through her environmental science degree program and worked as a Habitat Restoration Intern at Nearby Nature. In college she made lots of close friends who were with her until the end. After college, she worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a GIS Corp Intern in California where she was able to immerse herself in nature.
Unfortunately, this internship was cut short for her when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She returned back to Portland and received chemotherapy followed by surgery at Oregon Health Sciences University. After this treatment, she then spent a summer in Aransas, TX at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge as a Biologist Intern. Her cancer then returned and Leah participated in more chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments over the next three years. Leah and her parents traveled across the country seeking the best treatments. Her family extends their appreciation to the Sarcoma Oncology Center in Santa Monica, CA for their endless support and for providing her with most of her care. During this time, she was heavily supported by friends and family. Despite Leah’s condition, she continued to be passionate about human rights, wildlife conservancy, and appreciating beauty all around her. She traveled around California with close friends and refused to let her disease slow her down. She is remembered as encouraging others to “always choose kindness”.
Leah returned to Happy Valley, OR in the winter of 2019 due to cancer complications and was with her family when she passed on March 6th, 2020. She was preceded in death by her cousin Aaron Chelsky, her grandfather Morris Chelsky, and her grandmother Alvena “Vena” Adkins. Leah is survived by her mother Linda Chelsky, her father Ronald Chelsky, her brother Zachary Chelsky, her sister Anna Chelsky, her twin sister Jessica Chelsky, her sister-in-law Crisian Chelsky, and her godchild Forest Hull. Leah’s celebration of life will happen on March 28th, 2020 at 12pm at the Ainsworth House in Oregon City, OR. In memory of Leah Chelsky, donations in her name can be directed to the Nature Conservancy, the Aveni Foundation, and the Sarcoma Foundation of America; Support.nature.org, Avenifoundation.org, Curesarcoma.org.