A first-year student studying for his business degree died on Monday, Nov. 21 at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. 

The university announced the death of Zion Ratchford, 18, of Granite City, Illinois, on Dec. 2. Ratchford was a 2022 graduate of Father McGivney Catholic High School, as well as an online student at SIUE. 

Ratchford was diagnosed with leukemia in Oct. 2019, and his journey with cancer was documented on the Facebook page “Zion Strong” by his parents, Ben and Laura Ratchford. 

“Our hearts are very heavy, but we celebrate his life and the knowledge that he is now in the presence of Jesus!” Ben Ratchford said in a Facebook post. 

Zion Ratchford was a podcaster and amateur film critic, according to his obituary, and had received a brown belt in Taekwondo. He was a member of Champions Community Church in Valley Park, Missouri, where his father is lead pastor. 

“Zion had a strong faith, very determined, and always put others before himself and believed that with God all things are possible,” his obituary said. 

In Zion Ratchford’s obituary, his family thanked the staff of Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital for the care they had provided since his diagnosis. 

Funeral services took place Saturday, Nov. 26, at Irwin Chapel in Granite City. 

SIUE Counseling Services can be reached at (618) 650-2842 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, and more information is available at its website.

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