OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - A nearly two-year battle with a rare form of cancer is over for an Overland Park teenager, but it's the end everyone feared. Seventeen-year-old Ashton Brunmeier died early Sunday morning.
For Ashton, the fight was filled with support from the start. In February 2010, dozens of people shaved their heads for Ashton when he started chemotherapy.
"Words can't describe our feelings right now," said Ashton's father, Todd Brunmeier, two days after his death.
"We feel very blessed by what's going on around us. This is a true testament of good people and what a great kid Ashton was," said Ashton's mother, Julie Brunmeier.
"This is the happiest I've been since it's happened. I just can't even believe it," said Ashton's sister, Morgan Brunmeier.
And it's all because of Twitter. His family's not sure who, but someone created a hashtag of Ashton's initials, #ATB. Now the messages of support are coming in by the thousands for Ashton's family and friends.
"I think it's really helping to help remember the good times we had and just tweet about his memories," said Ashton's friend, Seve Sites.
"Just to see how one community can come together and really celebrate the life of a person," said Ashton's friend, Jack Jeronimus.
Tweets have poured in from around the world. Ashton's family thinks it speaks of his loyalty to his friends, and now it's spreading.
"Cancer was not a blessing, but there are a lot of lessons that came from him having cancer," said Julie.
Shawnee Mission West High School will host a vigil for Ashton Brunmeier at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the auditorium. Visitations will be held Thursday, Dec. 8, from 5-8 p.m.; and Friday, Dec. 9, from 9-10 a.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church in Overland Park. Brunmeier's funeral will follow the second visitation.
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