Lexington Teen 'Fought A Hard Battle' Against Cancer

1:32 AM, Dec 28, 2013   |    comments
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Lexington, SC (WLTX) -- A teen that the Midlands community has rallied around died late Friday morning, according to her family.

Kennedy Branham, a 14-year-old girl battling brain cancer, lost her fight just before 11 a.m. Friday, her grandfather said.

The teen had been in-and-out of the Palmetto Health Children's Hospital over the past several weeks.

"Even though you know something like this is going to happen sooner or later, you're just never ready for it," said her grandfather, Fred McCurdy, outside his home in Lexington Friday night.

Kennedy's family and extended family was inside the home Friday evening.

As the family gathered inside his home to mourn the loss of the girl known by so many, her grandfather chose to remember his granddaughter at her best.

"She fought a hard, hard battle," McCurdy said. "She thought about other people more than herself. She was worried about how other people were saddened more than she was."
 
It was just before her 13th birthday that Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer, and in the face of adversity, she was able to make it to a prom and inspire a community, all while fighting a disease that she would not let keep her down.
 
"Something just opened her up," her grandfather said. "She started caring more about other people. She started caring about their wants and their needs as much, or more, than what she wanted for herself and needed for herself."

Kennedy's ability to get outside of her situation, and go beyond her circumstances, are what allowed her to inspire the whole baseball program at Lexington High School, said head baseball coach Brian Hucks.

"Kennedy was probably the most courageous person I've ever met," Hucks said.
 
After throwing out the team's first pitch in 2012, Hucks says she became an inspiration to the entire program.

All 60 of them rallied behind her to bring home a championship in 2013. They dedicated the season to Kennedy, calling it "Win It For Kennedy."

"On this field, we shared so much together," Huck said at the school's baseball field Friday evening. 

"Games where she would come out and be with us and give us some inspiration."

McCurdy said Kennedy's loss would be felt by those throughout the community that knew her story.

"Sadness, everyone," McCurdy said. "Saddened people she doesn't even know. People she hasn't even met yet."
 
Around Thanksgiving, her family built a ramp for her wheelchair that went to her grandfathers door, marking it with messages of encouragement.

It is just one more piece  of her the family said will live on.

"We're going to tell everyone about her, find some way to memorialize her name where people will never forget," McCurdy said.

"I don't think they'll forget right now."

Funeral arrangements for Kennedy Branham have not yet been set.

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