Visitation, funeral information released for Amzie Smith
Visitation and funeral services were released Saturday for Amzie Smith, the Ballard High School junior who died Friday after a year-long battle with liver cancer.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Visitation and funeral services were released Saturday for Amzie Smith, the Ballard High School junior who died Friday after a year-long battle with liver cancer.
According to her obituary, visitation will be from 1-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9 at Ratterman Funeral Home, 12900 Shelbyville Road. Her funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Southeast Christian Church. Burial will follow in Louisville Memorial Gardens East.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations may be made to Kourageous Kids in Amzie’s memory.
Amzie, 17, was diagnosed with stage 4 adult liver cancer in November 2015 -- a kind of cancer rarely found in adults and nearly unheard of in children.
A lifelong Christian and member of Southeast Christian Church, Amzie spoke publicly about how her diagnosis strengthened her relationship with God. Her story of inspiration and faith has gone viral, reaching thousands of people.
"God has a purpose for everyone and his purpose for me is having this disease," she told WDRB in an October 2016 interview. "He has given me the strength to push through this, take this new perspective I have on life and show people that there is another way to live. No matter what you are going through in life, you have to let go of the small things."
She added: "Happiness is a choice and every day you get decide what you are going to live for."
Pastor Dave Stone of Southeast Christian Church said Saturday in a statement that Amzie was "a positive example to so many here at Southeast Christian, Ballard High School and throughout our community."
"We claim the same promise to which Amzie and every other Christian clings: 'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord'," Stone said. "Amzie repeatedly expressed that when her time came that she didn't want people to be sad, instead she hoped her passing would motivate people to be happy and live life well. We are grateful for Amzie's joyful and adventurous spirit. She lived this life with the next in mind."
He added that "our prayers go out to the family."
Amzie had continued to worship and participate in her youth ministry group. Last summer, she made a video testimony that was used as part of Southeast's high school ministry sermon.
News of Amzie's death on Friday drew statements of sorrow and condolences from a number of leaders throughout the city, including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Steve Tarver, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Louisville YMCA, in addition to a number of athletes at the University of Louisville, including the school's quarterback, Lamar Jackson.
Amzie is survived by her parents, Kathy and Tad Douglas and Dan and Jennifer Smith; her sister, Kyndal Smith; her grandparents, Janet Cormney, Jim Engleman, and Beverly Collins (Joe); her great grandmother, Betty Scharf, a step brother, Eric Douglas (Sarah) and a step sister, Kelly Hubbuch (Glenn) and many extended family members.
The teenager played a large role in planning her funeral.
"I don’t want people to be upset or sad," she told WDRB News in the interview. "I want people to celebrate all of the things I have done. I want people to look back and say that she had something special, she made a difference, she was kind. I want that to continue to long after I am gone."
Family members tell WDRB that there will be a much larger celebration of Amzie's life at a time and date that will be determined soon.
Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.
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