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LaFollette goes green to honor Katelyn Norman

1:42 PM, Apr 1, 2013   |    comments
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Update 1:15 p.m.

LaFollette remembered a special teenage girl on Monday after her bucket list and her life brought the community together.

On Friday, Katelyn Norman, 14, lost her battle with a rare form bone cancer. In honor of Katelyn's memory, people hung ribbons of Katelyn's favorite color, green, from windows, fences and car bumpers.

Katelyn spent the last two years undergoing treatments for osteosarcoma, a bone marrow cancer that affects only five out of every million kids in the United States.

Her visitation will also be on Monday from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the LaFollette Church of God; her funeral service will follow.

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(March 30, 2013) Katelyn Norman, 14, of Jacksoboro passed away on Friday, March 29 at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

Her visitation will be held on Monday, April 1 from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the LaFollette Church of God. A funeral service will follow at 8:00 p.m. Katelyn's interment will be at Bakers Forge Cemetery on Tuesday, April 2 at 11:00 a.m. Martin Wilson Funeral Home of LaFollette is organizing her arrangements.

Click here to view Katelyn Norman's guest book.

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(Friday, March 29) Fourteen-year-old Katelyn Norman died peacefully Friday morning surrounded by her family at the East Tennessee Children's Hospital after a two year battle with bone cancer.

Her hope to fulfill a bucket list caught the attention of many across East Tennessee and the world. On Friday, Campbell County remembered their hometown hero.

A walk at Jacksboro Middle School that was supposed to be a fundraiser to send Katelyn to Italy, instead celebrated her life.

Organizers say the $1,800 raised will go to help her family with expenses.

Dozens of girls, many younger than Katelyn, wore bright green bows in their hair as a symbol of their support for the teen.

Their smiles could have been a reminder that Katelyn died too young, leaving items on her bucket list unchecked.

But turn that bucket upside down and Sharon Shepherd says a lifetime of experience would come pouring out.

"The impact that she has had in my life is hard to put in to words," said Shepherd. "What she has done in two years is what a lot of us do in a lifetime."

Shepherd has been Katelyn's school nurse since she was five. She also helped organize a prom in Katelyn's honor earlier this week.

"She said 'you've done so much for me doing prom.' And I said 'Katelyn... but I feel like that's so little,'" said Shepherd. "And she said 'girl- that's not little!'"

A motorcycle riding club helped Katelyn check off another item by organizing a ride down Campbell County's main drag.

She was too weak to ride.

"That was amazing just seeing everybody. Rolling down the windows just saying hi to everybody," said Katelyn after the event.

And when cancer cut her crusade short, the community came to her.

"The strength that Katelyn has is the strength that people pray for," remarked one young woman who stood vigil outside Katelyn's hospital room when her illness kept her from prom.

It's the strength of her message that Shepherd says will allow Katelyn to live on.

"She wanted to bring awareness to childhood cancer," said Shepherd. "She's done that. She's still living that."

Shepherd says the teen wanted to grow up to help other children as a pediatric oncologist.

Now she recommends living by Katelyn's example.

"I learned not to take anything for granted. Live life to the fullest. Smile when you don't feel like smiling," said Shepherd.

It's advice we can all use to make our bucket lists a little longer.

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