Updated 09/20/2012 10:45 PM
Funeral services held for inspirational teenager who touched lives
Plenty of tears and tissues for a special Town of Wallkill teenager. Funeral services are held Thursday for 14-year-old Olivia Beam. Christian Farrell has more on the young girl with so many admirers.
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WALLKILL, N.Y. -- Grieving parents say goodbye to their little girl. Olivia Beam, 14, seen here in the wheelchair she spent more than a third of her life in, died this week from a disease doctors have never been able to identify.
Hundreds pack the Christian Faith Family Fellowship Church in the Town of Wallkill Thursday for an emotional memorial service. Ask anyone and they tell you Olivia was a special person. Never once asking for a re-deal, despite the unfortunate hand she was dealt in life.
"She wasn't your normal teenager. She was way older in her years and had quite the personality. She was pretty witty and pretty quick with her humor. She always had something to say. But never worried about herself. She always worried about everybody else," said family friend Mary Lu Dolce Conti.
Five years ago, Olivia Beam was a healthy young girl. Her friends described her as spunky. But Olivia's life would change suddenly, when one morning she woke up telling her parents she had pain all over. Olivia would never be the same physically. But according to her friends and family, that spunkiness and an unwavering fighting spirit would be with Olivia right up until the day she died.
"Her personality never changed. She was always the same girl," said good friend Jenna Darrell.
Darrell and Stephanie Manley grew up with Olivia in a neighborhood now adorned with purple ribbons in Olivia's honor.
"She loved animals. She loved anything to do with life," said Manley.
And unfortunately it was her own life, valiant and inspirational, that ended far too soon.
"She's probably the strongest and most courageous person I've ever known," said Dolce Conti.