A vow to continue advocacy after girl's death

Posted at 11:39 PM, Feb 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 18:50:09-05

CINCINNATI – Friends and loved ones were remembering and celebrating the life of Grace White, a 7-year-old who died Friday night after a battle with a cancer.

Grace was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare form of brain cancer, in 2014. Since then, she impacted many people, some of whom who remembered her Saturday as “energetic,” “strong” and “extraordinary.”

“There’s no way you can be in a foul mood for more than five minutes when you’re around that kid,” Grace’s godfather, Rob Tewes, said.

Eileen Jones with the Operation Grace White Foundation said Grace “had great spirit.

“She was a true fighter.”

DIPG mostly affects children. The cancer makes even basic human functions difficult, but Grace fought.

“It’s devastating,” Tewes said. “It’s the most unfair thing you can imagine.”

Jones said Grace’s friends and loved ones wanted to get word out about helping the family.

Grace’s father, Scott White, had been in Afghanistan with the military. Her diagnosis in 2014 brought him home. They moved to Cincinnati, where Lauren Hill was also fighting DIPG, for Grace’s treatment.

“Until Lauren Hill was diagnosed, DIPG was just not even on the map,” family friend Jennifer Carbon said. “Zero survival rate. It’s not one of those cancers that get any research.”

MORE: Girl with inoperable brain tumor shares hardships with Lauren Hill

Grace’s family and friends quickly came together to form the Operation Grace White Foundation.

“We’ve got to find a cure,” Steven Epplen with the foundation said. “We’ve got to beat this. As we said, no one surviving is unacceptable.”

After 15 months of fighting the cancer, Grace passed away in the presence of friends and family. Despite her death, they said Grace was the winner.

“She won because she showed us how to fight, and how to live,” Epplen said. “She’s going to win because we’re going to continue the fight. It’s our turn now.”