Community honors beloved North Ridgeville teen who died from cancer

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio -- More than 50 people gathered at St. Peter Catholic Church on Center Ridge Road in North Ridgeville Thursday night to 'color the city lime green.'

They brought hundreds of bright, neon green ribbons to remember and honor 17-year-old Jakob Hwang.

This is Jakob’s favorite color,” said Ember Mahaffey, who helped organize the event.

Jakob was kind-hearted, smart, athletic and a faithful young man who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

After two years of battling the cancer, he passed away peacefully Monday, June 11, surrounded by his family at their home in North Ridgeville.

“It’s unbelievable— the strength he had...unbelievable,” said Mahaffey.

The loss has devastated the community and Jakob's many friends, who wanted to show support for his  parents and sister.

“The impact he had on people is why we’re here,” said Ben Pearl.

“He befriended everyone —no matter who they are, where they come from, their background, anything,” said Alex Orellano. “He was your friend no matter what.”

After a short prayer they broke into groups and began hanging some 358 ribbons on utility poles along more than eight miles of roadway.

They started at the Hwangs' house and continued to Center Ridge Road, and then all the way over to Elyria Catholic High School, where Jakob graduated this past May.

It’s also where his funeral will be held this Saturday, and the route his family will take.

“We hope it’s a reminder the community is behind them,” said Mahaffey. “To let the family know we love them.”

Calling hours are Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bogner Funeral Home on Center Ridge Road in North Ridgeville.

The funeral will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Elyria Catholic High School.