His courageous battle against cancer earned him national attention. The young man who had thousand of people chanting, Keep Fighting Gary, has died.
Keep Fighting Gary has been the mantra for weeks in several Lackawanna County communities, all in support of Gary Lukasiewicz, 18, who has been battling cancer.
Words of encouragement have been pouring in on Facebook and Twitter, even celebrities have been tweeting their support.
Newswatch 16 learned Saturday Gary lost his battle with cancer, but not before a memorable evening that inspired those who knew him.
“He`s just so inspirational. He`s one of the strongest people I have ever met. He`s one of my heroes,” said friend and classmate Kyra Leasure of Taylor.
That is how thousands will remember 18-year-old Gary Lukasiewicz, who lost his battle with cancer just a day after being crowned prom king.
Kyra Leasure went to last year’s prom with Gary. She said the Riverside high school student made a surprise visit Friday night to his senior prom at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel in Scranton.
“When I saw him turn that corner, my heart just dropped. He made my senior prom. There`s no other way to describe it, he made my senior prom. It was awesome to see him there,” said Leasure. “He was so happy. That`s all he wanted to do was go to his senior prom, and that`s what he did.”
Gary had been in hospice care, fighting cancer and inspiring those who knew him until the end.
“We got a call from his mother. It was really hard,” added an emotional Leasure.
His friends started the Keep Fighting Gary movement, rallying the whole school in support of the senior class president.
“Everyone`s been helping out, buying t-shirts, wearing wrist bands and ribbons, supporting him with the colors and letting him know that we`re always backing him up ever since the beginning,” said freshman Nathan Dommes. “He`s been a great friend to everyone, even the kids that didn`t know him. He`s been an inspiration to everyone.”
The Keep Fighting Gary movement spread quickly. Signs went up in Gary’s hometown of Taylor and surrounding areas.
Soon thousands of messages were pouring in on Facebook and Twitter, even celebrities tweeted their support.
Friends said the prayers for Gary have meant so much.
“It`s been helping us get through what our struggles have been over these past couple weeks. It`s just been amazing to see everything that`s on Twitter and Facebook, just to see the community coming together as one. That`s what he did, he brought the community together and that`s what we`ll remember him as,” added Leasure.
Many students have been gathering at Divine Mercy parish on Davis Street in Scranton for prayer services for Gary. They will be there again at 9 p.m. to continue to show their support for Gary and his family.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been set.