Community celebrates ‘Nelly Strong Day’ in Fall River

(Julianne Peixoto/WPRI)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) – Fall River celebrated “Nelly Strong Day” Saturday in honor of a 17-year-old girl who lost her battle with cancer last year.

Janelle Eaton became an inspiration to thousands of people around the world for maintaining a positive outlook after her diagnosis with Ewing-like sarcoma.

She died in November of 2015 after a two-year battle with the disease.

Saturday, her parents held an event to celebrate her life and give thanks to the community that supported the family; several hundred attended the event at Durfee High School.

Eaton had a passion for helping others even as she was fighting her own battle.

“Feed the homeless, going back to the hospital and not forgetting the other kids that were sick,” her father, Joshua Eaton explained, “because she intended to do that and put everyone first before her.”

“We’re trying to help as many people as we possibly can,” he said.

They do that through the Nelly Strong Foundation, which raises money for kids in similar circumstances.

“We started our foundation in March,” her mother, Laura, said. “We are funding and granting individuals that have rare, critical and life-threatening illnesses, not just cancer.”

The foundation also works to raise awareness of alternative treatments.

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