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Northern Kentucky teenager Gavin Ward, who inspired Hamilton fundraiser, dies of cancer

Gavin Ward Hamilton car show fundraiser
Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 23:31:42-04

HEBRON, Ky. — Sometimes the race doesn’t last as long as it could, and the finish line seems to come too soon.

Avid car fan Gavin Ward, 16, of Hebron, Kentucky died Friday morning. He was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare form of inoperable brain cancer that gained recognition in the Cincinnati area through the fundraising efforts of Lauren Hill, in 2019

"That's the hardest part. Two days ago he was revving cars. Bombing Mustangs. Having a good time," Cars and Candy Foundation founder David Whitman said.

On Wednesday, Hamilton businesses in conjunction with The Cars and Candy Foundation held a fundraiser for Ward to raise money to finish rebuilding and putting a wrap on a Mitsubishi Eclipse he had started working on before the diagnosis.

"I want them to have something physical to treasure of him for as long as they can," Whitman said. "The great thing about a car if you take care of it, you can pass it down from family member to family member. You can take it to events. We can go, oh my god, that's Gavin's car."

A memorial drive was held in Ward’s honor Friday night in Hebron. A line of cars revved their engines as they passed his home.

"I told the family, even though he's not here we still are," Whitman said. "I know he'd be happy with that. I hope if he's up there hanging out I hope he hears some cool noises tonight."

Jennifer Ward, Gavin's mom, said she's hoping to use her Instagram platform 'Prayers for Gavin Ward' to continue raising awareness for DIPG.