MENTOR, Ohio -- She's inspired her friends and classmates and faced more than any young person should have to endure.
Friday, the Mentor High School community honored Riley Pearson, a 17-year-old senior who's battling cancer. She’s been in and out of treatments and surgeries over the last four years, and she’s held her head high.
“She is, for sure, for the rest of my life going to be my inspiration,” said friend Kelly Brown. “Because she acts like none of this phases her ever.”
Riley began her senior year this fall, but was too sick to continue and is now at home under hospice care.
Her classmates made purple T-shirts honoring “Princess Riley,” selling out 500 in an hour.
Proceeds will be used to print copies of a book Riley authored about her cancer fight.
“A lot of people don't know her story because she keeps it to herself,” Brown said. “I just wanted to make the school come together for her in a positive way because she's such an amazing person.”
Brown was among the students who organized a tribute Friday. Wearing purple shirts, dozens of students gathered in the shape of a heart in the center of Mentor’s football field, yelling “Riley, we love you,” for a video recording.
Though she couldn’t be there, her friends hoped Riley feels their support.
“We all care about her, and we love her, and we'll do anything to be there for her and her family,” Brown said.