BINGHAMTON (WBNG) – The Southern Tier said goodbye to 15-year-old Maddie Shaw Friday, whose story of perseverance while battling childhood cancer has touched hundreds of lives.
“How can you just be so young and so strong? She is such an inspiration,” said Samantha Walsh, a friend of the Shaw family.
Hundreds of people packed Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in Binghamton to pay their respects and honor her life.
Some say they met Shaw only once, but says they will never forget her spirit and bubbly personality.
“She was just the sweetest person ever. She was just so full of joy,” said Cordelia Jannetty, another friend of the Shaw family.
Shaw was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in 2013, a rare cancer that occurs in and around the bones.
During her personal battle with cancer, Shaw became a local household name after raising thousands of dollars for childhood cancer research through a number of different charity events.
“I would say everyone in the community knows who Maddie Shaw is. There’s been fundraisers and races and runs and money raising for her for years,” said Jennifer Johnson, a former neighbor of the Shaw family.
Those who attended the calling hours say they were shocked to learn of Shaw’s passing on Sunday.
“We were devastated. We can’t even imagine what her family is going through,” said Jannetty.
A massive number of people attended the calling hours scheduled from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. with a line leading outside the church and even wrapping around the building at one point. Friends of the Shaw family say they aren’t surprised by the massive support.
“The church is full of people still and it’s after 6 o’clock,” said Johnson.
“I expected it to be packed. Nothing less. And she deserves all that support. She did so much for so many people,” said Walsh.
“Everyone has been pulling for her, praying for her and it’s just effected the entire area,” said Deb Kessler from Port Crane.
While Shaw may be gone, many say her impact will continue to live on.
“I don’t think she will ever be forgotten. I think that for years to come she will be someone that’s spoken about and I don’t think there’s words to describe her or the work she’s done. I really don’t,” said Walsh.
People who attended the calling hours were asked to wear yellow in honor of childhood cancer awareness, as well as the color teal, Shaw’s favorite color.