Many in the tight-knit community of Richmond Hill expressed their shock and grief over the sudden death Monday of a 14-year-old girl, who hours earlier was diagnosed with cancer.
The death of Alivea Cox, the daughter of Kristi and Allen Cox, was first shared on social media, and since then thousands have offered condolences and some have created fundraising efforts to aid the family.
The Cox's are well known in the community. Kristi is the area director of the Bryan County office of the United Way of the Coastal Empire. Allen is employed with the Bryan County Board of Education. They have three other daughters.
Writing on its Facebook page, the City of Richmond Hill expressed, “We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to Alivea’s parents, sisters, grandparents, friends, teachers, band mates and countless others for their loss."
More than 2,000 people had reacted to the post (which can be viewed on the Bryan County News Facebook page), offering their condolences.
Richmond Hill Middle School, where Alivea completed 8th grade this past year, sent a text Tuesday afternoon to families offering "if a student would like to meet with a Bryan County School counselor to help deal with his or her grief" to contact the school at 912-459-5130.
The school said Alivea was "loved by her peers, teachers and family" and "we ask that you keep Alivea's family in your thoughts."
Longtime Richmond Hill resident Beth Odom is paying her respects to the family, raising money to keep alive Alivea's dream of getting books to children in the Ukraine.
Creating a Facebook page called "Keeping ALIVEA's Dream Alive," Odom is working with businesses and individuals to sell t-shirts that display that message of love. The shirts sell for $20. There are also plans to schedule a community book drive. More information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/Keeping-ALIVEAs-Dream-Alive-202018793947239/.
In addition, at least one Go Fund Me page has been established. Alivea's Angels, created by Kay Belau GreenFish, has a goal of $20,000, and as of 10 p.m. Tuesday had raised over $9,000. That page is found here: https://www.gofundme.com/aliveas-angels.
Alivea embraced life with joy, kindness and humor, according to the City of Richmond Hill post. On it, it told of a story her band educator shared:
When people were being unkind to her, Alivea wrote this in a letter: “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.”
Another educator posted that Alivea helped decorate her class door with the words: “Fill our heart with random acts of kindness.”
Jennifer Price, who said Alivea was friends with her daughter, told the Bryan County News that she was a special young lady who went out of her way to help others.
"She (Alivea) was one of the first people to welcome my daughter to her new school," Price said. When her daughter had to have surgery, Alivea "found out where we lived and made a big get well basket for my daughter and delivered it to our house," she added. "I had never met her and I was so impressed by this sweet act of kindness."
It wasn't the first time.
"Then when my grandmother passed, Alivea made a card and brought a gift to my daughter at school. She was so very thoughtful and just full of love and kindness."
She added, "Honestly, they are the kind of family you never forget because of how they make you feel special. Alivea will be truly missed by so many. She touched lives in ways she probably never even realized."