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Hundreds of people on the Elkhart Memorial High School football field disperse on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, after taking a picture to show all the people that support Sarah Crane, a 15-year-old that was diagnosed with colon cancer this past summer. Sarah died Saturday, Dec. 7. (Truth Photo By Jon Garcia) (AP)

Members of the Elkhart Memorial High School volleyball team play around as they wait for a photo to be taken on the Memorial football field on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Hundreds of people gathered on the field to take a picture showing all the people that support Sarah Crane, a 15-year-old that was diagnosed with colon cancer this past summer. Sarah died Saturday, Dec. 7. (Truth Photo By Jon Garcia) (AP)
Sarahstrong fundraisers will continue in memory of Elkhart girl
Posted on Dec. 9, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 9, 2013 at 5:51 p.m.

ELKHART — The 15-year-old girl behind the Sarahstrong campaign died this past weekend, but her legacy will live on.

Fundraisers and T-shirt sales have helped the family of Sarah Crane pay medical bills for the past five months as the Elkhart Memorial student battled stage four colon cancer. Crane died Saturday, Dec. 7, but her family plans to keep raising money to fight cancer, according to family friend Amy Coats.

“We’re going to continue to share her story,” said Coats, who lives in Indianapolis but has been active with fundraising efforts. “We’re going to continue to just try to get the word out about it. The more awareness we have, the closer we can get to having a cure.”

Family and friends have kept the public updated online about Sarah’s health and fundraisers using the #SARAHSTRONG Facebook group, which has more than 10,000 followers.

“We will definitely always be #SARAHSTRONG until there is a cure,” Sarah’s mother, Julie Crane, wrote on the group’s page Sunday, Dec. 8.

Purple Sarahstrong T-shirts have become popular and are sold online at sarahstrong.org. Upcoming fundraisers posted on the Facebook group include dances at the Elks Club in South Bend on Friday, Dec. 13 and 20, and Wine and Canvas events in Elkhart on Sunday, Dec. 15, 22 and 29. A #SarahStrongRun 5K is scheduled for March.

The Crane family also created the Sarah Strong Foundation in memory of Sarah, according to her obituary.

“We won’t just pack up and leave,” Coats said. “The details haven’t been put in place yet, but the family intends on paying it forward with whatever money they have gotten and haven’t needed to use for medical bills. They want to turn around and help other people because they have been helped so much here.”