HAMPSTEAD, NC (WECT) – A young girl who has touched the lives of many in the community passed away overnight from a rare form of brain cancer.
Family members say 13-year-old Kimberly Batchelor passed away Thursday morning at 12:30.
Kimberly was one of only 30 people in the country diagnosed with Leptomeningeal Oligodendrogliomatosis. This type of cancer impacts the brain, the brain stem and the spine.
"You never heard her complain," said best friend Julianna DeVito. "She never said why me, she always had a smile, and even with the cancer she was still the same."
"She was your typical 13-year-old," said family friend, Janine DeVito, "She was funny, had a big heart, was just a loving child and I think anyone would want her as a daughter, that's why the Hampstead community took her in as their own."
Since her diagnoses, the community came together in an effort to raise money to help with medical expenses. Several events, ranging from fishing tournaments to pageants, were held in her honor.
The Sloop Point Volunteer Fire Department has held multiple fundraisers for the family, including a yard sale which raised $8,500.
"We looked at it like, if she could fight so hard to keep going then there was no reason we couldn't fight for her," said Ryan Johnston.
Those who knew her say, even though she is no longer with them, the lesson she taught them will live on.
"No matter what," said DeVito. "You always have to keep fighting and have a smile on your face."
The family released the following statement:
A year ago Kimberly was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. With the love and support of her family and community Kimberly had some amazing experiences. During her illness she did not complain, did not ask why me. She faced each day bravely and with determination. She died in her home surrounded by people that loved her. Her legacy and spirit live on in all she has touched.
Kimberly's battle has touched the hearts of people who knew her in the community and even those who never got the chance to meet her.
"Heaven has received a beautiful angel this morning," Kathryn Radley commented on Facebook. "Sweet Kimberly, you've touched so many hearts here on earth. Rest in peace sweetness."
"There are no words that can take away the pain and emptiness that you feel today and in the days to come...but I hope that you know that people that you have never even met, are sending love & prayers. Thank you so much for sharing Kimberly with all of us...she had blessed so many people in so many ways. Keeping you & your family in my constant prayers," Edna Wade posted on Facebook.
A Facebook group with more than 3,800 members was created in Kimberly's honor. Hundreds are sending their condolences to Kimberly's family on Facebook, and others are thanking her for being such an inspiration.
"My heart is heavy for this family and for the community that loved her so dearly," Julie Christine Kemp commented online. "I thank the Lord for allowing her to be an inspiration. He has called her home, therefore she has done his work and now may she rest beside him. Many prayers for the family, close friends and the community as they face this hardship. She will be missed and ALWAYS remembered."
"I don't think Kimberly is resting," Jennifer Sipson Stenerson posted on Facebook. "I believe she is running, jumping, laughing and playing. I know she would want us all to keep our chins up and smile. You will be missed forever and thought of with such love, sweet girl."
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