Young but determined Glencoe cancer fighter, Rozlyn Greene, dies

Young but determined Glencoe cancer fighter, Rozlyn Greene, dies
Rozlyn Greene (Source: wbrc)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Rozlyn Greene, whose valiant fight against a rare form of childhood cancer made her a beloved and well known resident in Etowah County, has died at the age of nine.

"My baby girl won her fight and received the ultimate reward...God wins!" her father, Ben Greene, posted on Facebook Thursday night.

Her grandfather, Bill Greene, says Rozlyn was surrounded by family at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham.

Rozlyn was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a rare type of cancer that affects blood and bone marrow and most specifically white blood cells, on December 9, 2018.

A Facebook page set up to update her medical progress, #teamrozlyn, gained more than 83,000 followers.

The Glencoe Elementary School fourth grader soon became somewhat of a celebrity in her hometown and throughout Etowah County. The day in August she was released from Children's Hospital after a nine month stay, students at all three of Glencoe's public schools turned out to wave as a large police escort led her past.

WBRC first crossed paths with Rozlyn February 9, when we interviewed her and her father, Ben Greene, at Children's Hospital. That was the day the performers from Marvel Universe Live, including Spider-Man and the Black Panther, paid a visit to put on a surprise show. Rozlyn called it "a lot of fun."

Her father told us at the time the family had to rearrange their lives to make sure Rozlyn got to chemotherapy and to search for a bone marrow match.

“You learn to prioritize the little things that got you so upset, those things are pushed to the side and you realize that memories with family are more important than making sure you’re at a certain place at a certain time,” Greene told us at the time.

“I miss them, and I can’t wait to see them,” Rozlyn said about her friends back at school.

After Rozlyn's triumphant return home, her popularity exploded on social media. Members of the Glencoe Yellow Jackets football team wore gold ribbons on their helmets in honor of her. A "wear orange" day saw most of the student bodies, not only in Glencoe, but other schools, show up for school in orange. Rozlyn was taken by those schools to see them.

When Magic Moments granted Rozlyn a wish for her family to go to Disney World, another police escort led her to North Glencoe Baptist Church where she got a big send off. She was led in a wheelchair and an antiviral mask.

Her trip to Disney World ended up being cut short by Hurricane Dorian, however.

A GoFundMe account was set up with the name, "In This Family, No One Fights Alone," a common motto seen throughout Gadsden and Glencoe in association with Rozlyn. T-shirts, bracelets and ribbons were also sold to raise money for Rozlyn's treatment and the Greene family's mounting medical expenses. As of September 12, it had raised more than $5,200 of a $6,000 goal.

Ryan Lancaster, a woman who wanted to push awareness for childhood cancer, painted a number of windows throughout Glencoe with gold colored designs, using various images along the line of "No One Fights Alone" and "#teamrozlyn."

“Being a mom and a worrier, it’s just something I have always thought about. I can’t imagine what other moms/families are going through that actually have to face it daily, as opposed to me, who just worries about ‘what if’... So I wanted to find a way to help,” Lancaster told us.

Yet for all the attention Rozlyn received throughout Etowah County, Glencoe, social media and traditional news media, she was shy and was often intimidated by the overwhelming attention and support she received from the community.

“She’s very, very bashful and very shy, so she’s very uncomfortable with all the attention, but she’s excited. We’ve asked her a hundred times and she’s ready to go (to Disney World),” Ben Greene told us at the Disney World sendoff.

Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced within a couple of days.

A statement on the Glencoe Elementary Facebook page said counselors would be available on campus Friday.

Rozlyn Greene’s GoFundMe

The #teamrozlyn Facebook page

WBRC story about Rozlyn’s homecoming

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