Hundreds "Light the Night" in Honor of Richard Culliver

Just one day after 9-year-old Richard Culliver's death, hundreds found a way to honor him by Lighting the Night on Monday evening.

Candles burned in the hands of his family and friends, bringing those together that followed his story thanks to the Richard's Journey Facebook page.

"To people across the world in California as far as Australia, he's become an inspiration," said Amy Heydt, one of the organizers. "They haven't been able to make it to the benefits, make it to the fundraisers so we organized Light the Night so everyone could feel like they were paying their respects."

Culliver passed on Sunday following a two-year battle with brain cancer. Diagnosed in 2012 and only given 9-12 months to live, the diehard Steelers fan fought back.

Nine months after his diagnosis, new scans showed the tumor had shrunk and he began regaining his motor skills.

"It's always inspirational to see somebody keep fighting through because so many adults would have just broken down and hidden themselves in a room until it was over and he didn't do that," said Danielle Buol, another family friend and organizer. "He kept living."

Two weeks ago, Culliver's family used the Richard's Journey page to announce a new tumor had formed, this time on his brain stem.

Friends say in the days leading up to his death, Culliver did more than most could hope to do in a lifetime, from becoming a sheriff's deputy to flying in a helicopter.

"When they walked away from medicine, I think God blessed him and gave him that extra time with us to not only have those experiences and go on his first date, but to teach us all to come together and to love and to trust and to never give up," said Heydt.

His no-fear attitude and determination is what many hope can be learned from his journey -- a journey that they say will live on in the lessons he left behind.

"Keep living your life and keep going, even when the bad things happen," said Buol. "Fight through it."

Culliver's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in Lexington.


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