Wednesday, November 28, 2001

By Joann Livingston
Daily Light News Editor

   How does a community say "good-bye" to a child?
   Almost two thousand people openly struggled with that question Tuesday afternoon as Ellis County paid its respects at the funeral for 14-year-old Ashley Jean O'Rear.
   Loved and cherished by so many, Ashley died at her Waxahachie home Saturday, ending a courageous fight against brain cancer.
   Originally diagnosed with medulloblastoma in March 1997, Ashley had undergone intense treatment and remained free of the disease until September of this year, when an MRI revealed its return.
   "We are here to celebrate the life of Ashley," minister Dean Kilmer said during the service. "This is such a great tribute to her life to see so many people here that loved her, and I know that her family is touched by your love and presence."
   On behalf of the family, Kilmer extended thanks and appreciation to Children's Medical Hospital, and to its doctors, staff and volunteers.
   "I really believe they live up to their motto: We don't treat cancer -- we treat children."
   Kilmer recalled his own, special memories of the vivacious young girl, saying to those gathered, "I know you've seen that smile and confident spirit she always'had."


   Kilmer also affirmed -- as did all of the speakers -- Ashley's religious faith.
   "I believe, in her short years of life on this earth, that Ashley really understood what it meant to love God and to love other people. ... I'm very confident that Ashley has had more impact on more lives than just about anyone I know. Everybody in here remembers those special times when she touched our hearts, those special times when she impacted our futures."

    Continued >>>