Posted at: 01/12/2013 11:33 AM
Updated at: 01/12/2013 11:19 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion
Hundreds came together Saturday night to celebrate the life of a Fairport teen who lost his battle with cancer.
Blake Cognata battled a rare cancer called Ewing's sarcoma.
He passed away at Strong Hospital Saturday morning, just days before his 18th birthday.
The lacrosse and football player captured the heart of the community with his strength and courage throughout his battle, that strength helping his team reach an undefeated regular season.
Last week, Blake received a phone call of encouragement from NFL player Adrian Peterson after the community rallied in support on Twitter. Peterson was Blake's favorite player.
On Saturday the support for this fearless athlete continued at Fairport High School.
Many of them were wearing yellow, which has become the signature color of support for the cause.
They gathered to honor the life of this young man, who many are calling brave and courageous.
Fellow students have created a movement of support called "Find Your Strong for Blake Cognata.”
They came by the dozens, and together they stood on top of Angel Hill, hundreds of students, faculty, friends and family of Blake Cognata. It was a sign of just how many people loved him and how many he inspired.
Blake Cognata fought a tough battle against cancer for almost a year. When he lost that battle Saturday morning, it left the Fairport community torn apart.
Students began arriving at Fairport High School shortly after he passed, many describing him as one of a kind.
“I just think it was amazing how he brought so many teams together. Seeing pictures online of other teams wearing yellow just like us, it amazed me just how good of a kid he was. I'm just so proud he's from Fairport,” said David Trabold, a junior at Fairport High School.
“He talked to everyone. (He was) not that (kind of) kid that would bully people. He'd be the one standing up against bullies. He's the kind of kid that didn't deserve the kind of things that happened to him,” said Scott Nagel, a senior.
Fairport High School Principal Joe Fantigrossi was on hand to help students cope with the loss and to show his support for the Cognata family.
“Today we not only mourn his loss, but we celebrate his life and all that he gave to us,” he said.
Many staff members were there throughout the day with Fantigrossi. News10NBC is told counselors will continue to be on hand throughout the week.
Fantigrossi says he sat down with Blake and his family on Tuesday and handed him an honorary diploma. He says Blake's story will continue to inspire everyone in this community.
“When you see a young man who takes on a fight like this and does not give up and shows pride and grace, who never says 'woah,' never says 'oh poor me' and fights the whole time, that gives us all pride and makes us all proud to be part of his life and part of this community,” said Fantigrossi.
Adrian Peterson sent a tweet to the Cognata family on Saturday. It said:
“My thoughts & prayers go out to the Cognata family! RIP Blake Cognata, love you brother.”
A Facebook page was set up called “RIP Blake Cognata.” Many people have been leaving their condolences and well-wishes to the family on the page.
An Indiegogo account was also set up to help Blake's family pay for medical expenses. It's called “Find Your Strong for Blake Cognata.”