KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
Students from White Pine High School gathered last week for a balloon release in honor of former student Paige Hill, who died in February from Mucopolysaccharidosis Type III.

During the last week of school, several students and faculty arranged for a balloon release followed by a tree planting ceremony in remembrance of Paige Hill, a graduate of the White Pine High School.

Paige graduated in 2020, but sadly lost her lifelong battle with Sanfilippo Syndrome on Feb. 13. Mucopolysaccharidosis type III also known as Sanfilippo is considered a rare disease: 1 in 70,000 children are born with the inherited condition.

Sanfilippo mostly affects the brain and is one of a group of conditions called ‘childhood dementia’.

Paige’s mother Michelle Hill, and Paula Paterno, special education teacher at the White Pine High School, organized the event. The Student Council, Ag Science and friends of Paige assisted and participated as balloons were passed out to students.

Born and raised in Ely, Paige was described as an adventurous young lady who was very active and many would say she taught others that it was okay to do things differently, and to have fun living life to the fullest.

Paige and her family never let her diagnosis of Sanfillippo stop her from living life. Throughout her childhood, Paige loved playing T-ball and soccer. During her years in school, she participated in band, drama, science and Student Council. If you attended the fair, you may have even seen Paige, as she was a member of the White Pine 4-H club, and loved showing her pigs at the county fair with the help of her older brothers Brandon, Alex and Chris Hall.

Bubbles filled the air, and a song by Granger Smith called “Heaven Bound Balloons” played in the background while Paige’s mother Michelle thanked everyone for coming out.

“Today we are sending our thoughts to heaven for Paige, on the count of three we are going to release all these balloons” Hill said. Cheers of “we love you” rang out as balloons floated into the sky.