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
"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."