Tearful visitation for the girl behind "Sarah Strong"


Many left Hartzler, Gutermuth, Inman funeral home in tears Friday night, having paid their final respects to Sarah Crane.

Crane passed away at the age of 15 on Dec. 7 after a five-month long battle against colon cancer. During the course of her chemotherapy, Crane captured the hearts of a community and beyond.

Celebrities like Tom Cruise, Cee Lo Gree and Kelly Ripa sported the famous purple "Sarah Strong" t-shirts as word of Crane's unique diagnosis spread.

The community most influenced and most devoted however, was Crane's hometown of Elkhart.

Crane ran on Memorial High School's track team and was involved in the marching band. Her close ties to the athletic department were evident after red letterman jacket after letterman jacket paraded into the funeral home.

Charlie Choate, owner of Hartzler, Gutermuth, Inman Funeral Home said more than 100 floral arrangements were delivered as of Friday morning--he expected even more to show up throughout the rest of the day.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence sent a heart made up of white and purple carnations which stood prominently in the room adjacent to Crane's casket.

Purple, pink and white flowers surrounded the rooms of the parlor as a blanket enshrined with Crane's face stood prominently at the center. In honor of "Sarah Strong," employees working the visitation also donned purple ties to show their solidarity.

As a special touch, the Crane family asked that the casket be written on as friends, family and even strangers, paid their final respects. That way, Crane can keep everyone's thoughts and prayers with her forever.

The funeral service begins at 10 a.m. at California Road Missionary Church in Elkhart. Seating is ready for 500 visitors, any one wishing to watch can stream the service live on the church's website, the Elkhart Truth's website or youtube.


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