Light the Night for Kate honors teenager's last wishes

Light the Night for Kate honors teenager's last wishes

6 News Reporter

JACKSBORO (WATE) - A community gathered to remember a teenager who lost her battle with cancer.

14-year-old Katelyn Norman died in March of last year.

Dozens came out to honor her memory in Campbell County Saturday.

One of Katelyn's last wishes was to help find a cure for childhood cancers, so after her death her friends and family started a foundation to fund research.

Saturday was all about that--a celebration of Katelyn and making sure her memory lives on.

"This was very important to her. It was one of her last wishes to get this foundation kicked off and to help somebody else," said Katelyn's mom Erica Nelson.

Those who knew Katelyn say she wanted to help people.

Dying of bone cancer last year, one of her last wishes was to end the suffering.

"She didn't want to see other kids to go through what she went through and her goal was to find a cure for cancer, and we want to do anything we can to keep that dream alive," said Katelyn's cousin Leona Byrd.

From that dream the Katelyn Norman Foundation was born.

Saturday people gathered to raise money for the foundation and remember Katelyn.

"This is really just a big celebration celebrating Katelyn, celebrating what we've done over the past year, and thanking the community for all they've done as well," said Katelyn's friend and Light the Night organizer Brandon Huckaby.

It is called Light the Night for Kate and started last year as a prayer vigil.

This year it is a festival--a celebration of the lives that could be saved and a chance to help other families going through the same thing.

"Usually families go through a lot of trouble financially when a child is diagnosed with cancer just because treatment can be expensive," said Huckaby.

"Childhood cancer is really not rare. It does exist. There's 46 families that will bury a child a day," said Nelson.

Katelyn's family says her larger than life spirit touched many before her death, and the support is overwhelming even today.

"She's watching us from up above so that's good, and it's just very heartfelt. It touches your heart. You want to cry and laugh at the same time," said Katelyn's aunt Jennifer Norman.

"It's exciting and it's heartbreaking at the same time because it takes you back for a minute that my child has stopped the world for a moment," said Nelson.

Katelyn's family and friends say they plan to continue the festival each year in her memory.

For more information on the Katelyn Norman Foundation visit
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