14-year-old girl from Richmond Hill, GA, dies hours after rare cancer diagnosis

RICHMOND HILL, GA (WTOC) - A 14-year-old girl from Richmond Hill died on Monday within hours of a cancer diagnosis.

Alivea Cox, who was heading into the ninth grade at Richmond Hill High School, was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) after being sick for a few weeks and discovering a lump. Her case had been referred to a surgeon.

ALCL is a rare form of blood cancer.

Cox met with her oncologist for the first time last week and went to the hospital on Friday.

Medical experts said parents may sometimes think their child has common symptoms, but they could in fact be much more dangerous.

Doctors advise parents to take children to the hospital if they experience illness for more than a few days. Another for parents to protect their child's health is to make sure they're seeing a doctor at least once a year for annual checkups.

The city of Richmond Hill extended condolences to the family and community on Facebook Tuesday morning.

"We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to Alivea's parents, sisters, grandparents, friends, teachers, bandmates and countless others for their loss," city officials wrote.

Cox was a band student. According to the city, she wrote the following to her band educator after hearing the teacher was under stress:

Not only have I learned a TON about music from your class, but I learned a ton of life lessons as well. I've learned how to better manage my time, be more patient with myself and others (still working on it... it's easy to get frustrated with myself lol), and that I will always have bad days and they don't define me as a musician or as a person.

"She was one of the students who would always come in and try to cheer you up and put a good spin on the day. She always had a positive outlook," Cox's former teacher, Matt Amason, said.

Richmond Hill Middle School sent out a text message to parents with advice for students coping with Cox's death.

"Yesterday, [Richmond Hill Middle School] suffered a tragic loss as rising ninth-grader, Alivea Cox, passed away. She was loved by her peers, teachers, and family. If your student would like to meet with a Bryan [County] School counselor to help deal with his or her grief, please contact [Richmond Hill Middle School] at 912-459-5130. We ask that you keep Alivea's family in your thoughts."

A support group called "Keeping ALIVEA's Dream Alive" started a page on Facebook Tuesday. According to the group, people can pre-order t-shirts at KTM's Sew Much Baggage. Proceeds will go toward sending books to the Ukraine and supporting the Cox family.

Locations across the Coastal Empire are accepting children's books to donate to the Eastern European country.

A box will eventually be shipped to Ukraine because it's something Cox wanted to do for years. Organizers said businesses in Savannah, Pooler and Effingham counties have reached out to them to provide support. There are at least 10 official drop-off locations right now.

"It's taken off," Beth Odom, who is helping organize donations. "It's really great. I've had people call saying 'I've got $500, where do I send it? I've got this, I've got that.' A lady that does estate sales called me and said 'I just bought an estate and there's boxes and boxes of children's books, where do I take them?'"

Those who want to give a donation to the Cox family can drop off money at any of the following places:

  • The Hair Station
  • City of Richmond Hill
  • Fire Dept. #1 on Ford Avenue
  • Copenhaver Dental
  • The Ice Cream Stop
  • Avent Therapy
  • Love's Seafood
  • Chatterbox
  • EOM
  • KTM's Sew Much Baggage

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