NBC10 - Na’eem Douglas
The 8 year-old girl who inspired her West Reading town as she battled cancer was funeralized today.
Family, friends and community members said a final goodbye to Laney Brown, the little girl from West Reading who inspired her community as she battled leukemia.
Brown died on Christmas morning. A public viewing was held Sunday afternoon.
The 8-year-old brought awareness to childhood cancer and offered a glimmer of hope to those who are battling the disease.
"Her family shouldn't have to suffer. But, she's definitely an ambassador of hope. I hope everyone remembers her as such," said Christal Nordsick, who attended the funeral.
Her story garnered national attention for the public response to one of her dying wishes -- to hear Christmas carolers outside her window. Last Saturday, thousands gathered outside her family's home to sing Christmas carols. Upwards of 6,000 people filled her neighborhood's streets to grant her wish.
Brown could hear the carolers from her bed and gave two thumbs up. She also got another wish granted, the opportunity to skype with singer Taylor Swift.
"She was a beacon of hope. The way the world is today -- a beautiful child, never got down, always upbeat. People could learn a lot from her," said family friend Jeff Klemmer.
Her family encouraged the public to wear "bright colors" in Laney's honor.
Despite the rain, hundreds came out to pay their respects Sunday afternoon at the Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home at 739 Penn Ave. in West Reading.
Noticing the rain, one man who attended said, "Maybe it's tears of joy."
A spokesperson for the family said the family wanted to have a public viewing so that the many people she touched could say goodbye. The family will hold a private funeral later this week.
After she passed, family spokesman Christopher Winters released a statement on the family's behalf:
"We are devastated by the loss of our Laney. She was our angel. We will miss her smile, her laughter, and the way she would light up any room she was in. We are eternally grateful for all of the love kindness, prayers and support that we have received from people across the world. You will never know how meaningful it was for all of you to rally around Laney."
Instead of flowers, contributions may be made to the Four Diamonds Fund at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.