MEDINA, OH (WOIO) - On Tuesday night, students at Medina High School honored a classmate they lost too soon.
A rally was originally planned for 17-year-old Sierra Bland before the basketball game. But sadly, Sierra passed away over the weekend after a battle with ALS.
So the rally turned into a tribute.
Students and parents wore blue T-shirts that said "Sierra Strong" on them. Blue was Sierra's favorite color.
Friends like Kelsey Hunter remembered the good times.
"She was so caring and so positive about things," Hunter said. "All the stuff she went through, she always saw the bright side of things."
Sierra started experiencing muscle weakness and tremors over a year ago, but doctors struggled to diagnose her.
By that fall, she was using a wheelchair. Doctors diagnosed her with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a disease that damages muscles and eventually leads to paralysis and respiratory failure. It is rarely found in teenagers and mostly affects adults between the ages of 40 and 70.
"I can't even speak about it I get so emotional," said Anita Hunter, Kelsey's mom and Sierra's neighbor. "To have a 17-year-old girl just look at the world so wonderfully, so positive. And this terrible disease just took her away."
Sierra spent the last seven months in the hospital. But she still managed to leave a big impression on those around her.
"She wore her heart on her sleeve," said Erica Melcher, a Medina High School parent. "She has been the most inspirational young lady I have ever met. No matter what her struggles were, no matter what she had been through, she took every day and made it count."
Sierra's parents did not attend the tribute, but classmates want her family to know how much she was loved.
"It would be great if everybody could look at the world like she did, always look at the positive and not the negative, no matter how bad things got," Kelsey Hunter said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up in Sierra's name to help her family cover her medical bills.
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