Princeton High School students use social media to remember a friend, raise brain cancer awareness

SHARONVILLE, Ohio - Although still a teenager, William Cox II, left a legacy at Princeton High School in Sharonville.

Cox was a basketball player who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the spring of 2012. He passed away on July 2, but to everyone who knew him, he's unforgettable.

His friends want others to know about Cox, who they call Will, and they're using social media to convey the message.

Jonathan Boyle, along with friends Marc Ferguson, Justin Goodall, Jasmine Smith and Jessica Boggans, have teamed up to create #iWill: The Foundation.

"I will be great, I will beat cancer, I will beat the odds," Boyle  explained of the name. "We thought it was a good slogan. And just promoting it on social media is the fastest way to get it out there."

Thus @Official_IWill was born, as was the occasionally trending #iWill hashtag and the @I_WillOfficial Instagram account. 

According to the American Brain Tumor Association approximately 4,300 children younger than age 20 will be diagnosed with primary brain tumors in 2013.

It's been a rough few years of loss at Princeton High School (see related links).

"The whole school's been hit five years in a row," Boyle explained, remembering the names of students who died from illnesses to a shooting. "So Princeton's been through a lot."

The goal of #IWill are simple, Boyle said. The students want to bring awareness about what brain tumors do to the body because, "you know, everybody kind of ignores that stuff until someone passes away that they know."

If Boyle and his #IWill team have anything to do with it, people won't forget.

As soon as the news about Will's death spread, Instagram and Twitter were flooded with memorials to the basketball player.

"Everybody knows in our generation that everybody is on Twitter, everyone is on Instagram," Boyle said. "So, if you're crying about it (losing Will) and you're sad about it, you can look it up."

The offline world has reminders of Will too. The #iWill group made memorial bracelets and is working on T-shirts. They're also talking to doctors, teenagers and Princeton alumni to figure out other ways to raise awareness.

"The next thing is Facebook, we're about to start that tonight," Boyle said on Thursday.

Love for a friend is bringing the Princeton community together, too, in time for Cox's funeral on July 13. 

"We (me, Goddall and Cox) were like three brothers growing up,  and now we have this thing going on with other people," Boyle said. "And of course, the whole Princeton family."

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