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Teen Dies Days After Special Graduation

Legacy.com / Nick Ehrhardt

Teen Dies Days After Special Graduation

High school graduation is a time-honored rite of passage for teens. For Lynzee Ford, 17, it was a dream that leukemia nearly stole from her.

After Ford received a terminal diagnosis, staff and students at her high school in Kilgore, Texas, worked together to stage a special Oct. 20 graduation for her, attended by friends, relatives, teachers, first responders and even the city's mayor, according to TheRoot.com. Three days later, Ford died.

In the wake of her death, friends and family are remembering the teen's inspirational attitude and bravery. In an interview with KLTV before her death, Ford shared a simple message: "Never give up."

Today that message resonates with those who knew her. Her softball coach, Cheyenne Kirkpatrick, told TheGrio.com, "She always had a huge smile. ... (She) made everyone have a better day."

The Root reported that Kilgore Police Sgt. Vance Callahan told KLTV she was the most "courageous 17-year-old kid I ever met in my life," adding that Ford's life had brought the community together. "Now it's not just community; we're all family," Callahan said.

Share the story of Ford's inspiring life with your own community and family, and keep her message of determination alive.