Savannah Lewis, the Copperas Cove teenager who brought the community together as she battled cancer, died Tuesday evening.
Funeral details are pending. Savannah was 16.
Julie Moser, co-founder of the Pink Warrior Angels and liaison between the Lewis family and the public, runs the private Facebook group #SavannahStrong, which has been providing daily updates on Savannah’s progress. Late Tuesday night, she shared this post via this site:
“Savannah Marie Lewis passed peacefully in her sleep at 1738 (5:38 p.m.) Jan. 2, 2018. Official Service announcement will be posted when available. Please pray for the family and respect their wishes during this difficult time. Thank you for your continued support.”
A website to help the family with expenses has been set up at: https://flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MjY1NzQ
As of late Wednesday, the campaign has raised more than $5,400.
Savannah, and her story, have had almost 3,000 followers on the #SavannahStrong Facebook page. Those following her journey come from many states, including New York, California, Illinois, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Arizona. Many of the people have written about how Savannah’s courage and optimism have touched them all in some way, even those who have never met her or her family.
Her favorite quote was, “I’m a diamond, dear, you can’t break me.” She she beat the odds, making it through Christmas and through the New Year.
She left a legacy for friends, family and strangers.
Savannah was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma over a year and a half ago. Neighbors held a block party for her Dec. 16 to help raise money for her family.
Her father, David Lewis, said his daughter’s final wish was to see Christmas, which she did.
“She had the biggest smile while opening her presents,” Lewis wrote on his daughter’s Facebook page on Christmas Day. “I fear that after what I have seen this evening after her presents were opened that she will be leaving us very soon.”
On Dec. 3, more than 500 people and 300 Jeeps participated in a #Savannahstrong parade past the home of Savannah.
Savannah and her father share a love for the vehicles, and local Jeep owners came together to parade past her house in the vehicle.
“There were people in the parade who came from as far as Missouri to be a part of this, and we all had a blast participating,” parade participant Mike Bartoszek Sr. said. “She actually sat outside and waved as best she could as we all drove past.”
The procession took about one hour to make its way past the Lewis’ home.
In late November, dozens of volunteers came together to decorate Savananah’s home for the holidays — a wish she made before leaving the hospital.
Holiday Expressions of Lampasas donated decorations for the exterior of the home. Others donated time, decor and money to the family, including the Children’s Miracle Network and Copperas Cove’s Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans.
A themed Christmas tree was made and donated just for Savannah. Local businesses changed their billboards for the day to read, “Savannah Strong.”
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people were sharing their condolences to the family Wednesday on social media.
“I had never met Savannah, but I read all of the stories and was inspired by her strength and courage,” Veronica Shorey wrote on the Killeen Daily Herald’s Facebook page. “I can’t imagine the grief and pain the family is feeling, but hopefully they are comforted by the fact that she was an inspiration to so many. She is an angel that will never be forgotten.”