Campbell County teen loses battle with cancer

Campbell County teen loses battle with cancer

Posted:
Katelyn Norman died Friday at the age of 14. Katelyn Norman died Friday at the age of 14.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Katelyn Norman, the Campbell County teen whose community rallied in support of the final days of her cancer fight, passed away Friday.

East Tennessee Children's Hospital says Norman, 14, died sometime after 8 a.m.

Norman had been battling bone cancer and was told in recent weeks her chemotherapy treatments were no longer working.

Earlier in the week, Norman's friends and family members held a special prom in Katelyn's honor. It was said to be the number one thing on her "bucket list."

Norman was unable to attend due to her failing health, but hospital staff decorated the room and her date gave her a corsage and a special prom queen sash. Family and friends gathered outside with candles.

The show of support extended to social media and was featured on news outlets across the world.

Funeral services for Norman have yet to be announced.

Friends to keep Katelyn's spirit alive

"We're going to live like Kate. Live every day to the fullest," said fellow Children's Hospital cancer patient Trecci McGhee.

McGhee went into remission recently. She's heartbroken her friend Katelyn didn't have the same outcome.

"She was so young. I'm 20 and if I could give up some of my years for her, I would. She's truly an inspiration," McGhee said.

She was devastated to learn Katelyn had passed away.

"It fills you with anger and confusion, but at the same time you realize for the first time in two years she won't have to fight any more," McGhee said.

Tiffany White, another cancer survivor and friend of the Norman family, checked Facebook constantly for updates on Katelyn's condition.

"Her aunt posted late last night that if you are still awake, please get down on your knees and pray," White said. "And that's what I did."

Blood Donor remembers Katelyn

The Medic Regional Blood Center said hundreds of people donated blood to help Katelyn Norman when she was in need of blood transfusions.

In July, Katelyn had the rare opportunity to meet some of the donors that gave their blood to her and Friday one donor told 6 News how she is remembering the teen following her death.

"She had a great spirit about her and she was a fighter," blood donor Apryl Campbell said. "I wanted my blood that she was receiving that gave her strength, I just I wanted it to heal her."

Campbell said that while she is saddened by Katelyn's passing, she is relieved the teen's difficult struggle is finally over.

"I wanted her to be able to be a 14-year-old girl and not a 14-year-old girl with cancer," Campbell said.

Campbell said a saying her grandmother used to tell her is helping her deal with the loss.

"They can't just be all old faded roses in heaven," Campbell said. "There has to be some rose buds, too."

Campbell donated blood through the Medic Regional Blood Center, which said those donations are critical to saving lives and helping those just like Katelyn.

"It really is about saving lives and sustaining lives right here in our community," Medic Regional Blood Center Director of Public Relations Christi Fightmaster said.

The center said it's always in need of new donors, especially during the holidays and summer.

"It's just vitally important for people to get out and participate in those blood drives," Fightmaster said.

The Medic Regional Blood Center is having a blood drive in honor of Katelyn Friday, April 5 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Jacksboro Middle School.

Anyone interested in donating blood who are unable to make it to the middle school can go to any of the blood donation locations and mention her name, Katelyn Norman.

You can reach the Medic Regional Blood Center for more information at (865) 524-3074.

If you'd like to help a sick child enjoy a special experience like Katelyn's prom, contact Dream Connection at 865-971-2447 or the Make a Wish Foundation of East Tennessee.

6 News Reporter SAMANTHA MANNING contributed to this report.

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