If you’ve ever met Morgan Pierce, you couldn’t forget her.
Equal parts kind and courageous, Pierce was well-known in Plant City for her 12-year fight against neuroblastoma. Her unbreakable spirit and willingness to advocate for others left a major impression on everyone who got to know her. Her friends certainly won’t ever forget that.
They’re not about to let others forget that, either. Three of Pierce’s closest friends, Kiah Jackson, Kitty Shelton and Haylee Thomas, organized a candlelight ceremony for Monday night to let the community give Pierce a heartfelt goodbye. More than 50 people came out to the train depot at the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum to pay their respects to one of Plant City’s bravest fighters.
“I’ve known her since second grade. I don’t remember a time without her,” Jackson said.
“She’s really brave and no matter what, she always had a smile on her face. No matter how hard it got, it never fazed her. She was a normal girl and that’s what she wanted everyone to know.
The girls encouraged all who attended to help keep Pierce’s legacy alive by doing one of her favorite things: raising awareness about childhood cancer. Pierce and her family were instrumental in bringing the Jensen’s Heart of Gold Foundation to Florida, which hosts an annual gala in and around Plant City as well as the annual Play for a Cure family fun days at the train depot.
The ceremony began at 8 p.m. with Jackson, Shelton and Thomas sharing some of their favorite things about Pierce, from the way her strong personality inspired them to their favorite memories of hanging out together over the years. As luminaries were lit and let go into the twilight sky, Giselle Gutierrez performed two songs as tribute. The first was “Long Live” by Taylor Swift, who was Pierce’s favorite musician. The second, Ed Sheeran’s “Supermarket Flowers,” was picked “from us to Morgan,” Gutierrez said.
“And I know that when God took you back he said ‘Hallelujah,’” Gutierrez sang, “‘you’re home.’”