DAVIE (CBSMiami) — Family and friends of a Davie teen who lost her battle with brain cancer honored her memory Thursday by planting a tree in her name.

Ashley Ramirez, 18, who attended Nova High School in Davie, passed away in her sleep last week.

“She was a true young lady of courage and humility,” said the school’s principal John LaCasse.

Under a rainy South Florida sky, family, fellow students and teachers gathered in the butterfly garden to dedicate a silver buttonwood tree in Ramirez’s memory.

“She wanted to come to school, she said ‘Mom, I have to come to my senior year because I want to graduate’,” said Ashley’s mother Terri Ramirez.

During her senior year, Ramirez faced circumstances no student should ever be forced to endure.  In November, 2011, doctors found the cancerous tumor in Ramirez’s brain.  She underwent surgery, six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  Doctors told Ramirez the cancer was in remission.

Ramirez graduated with her class last Spring.

“She showed me her diploma, she said ‘Mom, I made it, I made it mom’,” said Ramirez.

By June, the cancer had returned.  She spent a month at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, TN.

Fellow students and teachers said in some ways, Ramirez’s battle with cancer helped her in some ways.

“When she had her tumor removed, she got her biggest wish, which sounds kind of ironic.  Ashley’s biggest wish in this world was to have friends.  She was very, very shy,” recalled Nova High counselor Christi Desky.  “She did get her biggest wish which was to be connected to a lot of other kids.”

“My heart broke just to know that some one, I was so happy that some one tried to be her friend,” said Ashley’s sister Jasmin Estrada.

To learn more about Ashley’s life, visit the family’s website.


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