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Desert Tragedy: Family, friends reflect on a life taken too soon

Reported by: Kelsey Thomas
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Updated: 8/02 1:12 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- In May, Coronado High School senior Kiilani “Kii” Giron was crowned prom queen at the Henderson school and was on track to become a freshman at the University of Hawaii in the fall. A summer hiking trip on a popular desert trail with her friend ended those plans.

Just weeks after their graduation, Giron and her friend Alek Dales went for a hike in Gold Strike Canyon near Hoover Dam.

With just a single bottle of water between them on a 103 degree day, the four-and-a-half mile trek proved too treacherous.

Toward the end of their hike, Giron began to show signs of fatigue and collapsed.

“Kind of staggered, she kind of fell over, and kind of held herself up, and then completely collapsed,” Dales explained. “I just pick her up in my arms and go maybe 100, 200 feet, and I'm exhausted too and that was the most I could do. I had to put her down. I was exhausted. I couldn't do it.”

Giron was airlifted to Sunrise Hospital where she spent two weeks before dying from the complications of heat exhaustion.

Giron is being remembered for her zest for life and always looking for a new adventure.

“She always had a new craft, a new idea, a new project that she wanted to do,” said Allie Anderson, one of Giron’s best friends. “Something new she wanted to see, a place she wanted to go, and that’s just how she lived her life.”

Jim Giron, Kiilani’s father, said she was inspired by religion and wanted to implement her faith into everyday life. “She saw how Christ served, and that was the same way she wanted to serve,” Jim Giron said.

Kiilani’s lust for life was infectious. Her mother, Aulii Giron, said her daughter never did anything on a small scale. Trying to get as much out of life each day, Kiilani inspired those around her. “Kii never did anything small. And that was her spirit,” Aulii Giron said. “She embodies doing as much as she could in every second, of every minute, of every hour and she loved life, so much. It just amazed me.”

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