CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
When Tristin Greer was diagnosed with neurblastoma at 13-years old, he was already defying the odds. Wendy Ransom, creator of Emily's Power for a Cure, says the rare cancer is most common in children less than two years old.
Earlier this year when he was diagnosed with leukemia, a second cancer in addition to neuroblastoma, Tristin continued to live his life to the fullest and made his last year one of his greatest.
Tristin Greer was a freshman at UTC, and a CSAS alum. He had been fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma for the past five years.
"I don't think any of us expected things to end quite as quickly as they have," Ransom said.
Wendy Ransom met the Greer family shortly after Tristin's diagnosis.
Ransom is the founder of Emily's Power for a Cure after her daughter, Emily, died from neuroblastoma when she was just a young girl.
When firefighter Jason Greer completed the Chattanooga Ironman last September, he did so to honor Tristin and to raise money for Emily's Power for a Cure.
"He wanted to be as strong as his son, and dare to defy the odds and be an Ironman," Ransom said.
Last month Tristin was admitted to the hospital, on the night before the Chattanooga Ironman 70.3. Doctors said the neuroblastoma was spreading.
The next day Jason completed the Ironman once again in honor of his son. This time, he was joined by a group of more than 20 competitors also raising money for Emily's Power for a Cure.
"But we raced for Tristin, Jason raced and finished his race as well, and then that week we began to learn there wasn't much more chemotherapy was going to be able to do."
Tristin will be remembered for his high spirits no matter what his diagnosis. During his stay at the Children's Hospital friends and family were always welcome.
"Tristin had a sign on his door that said if I'm asleep, please wake me up," Ransom said, "He said if people are coming to visit me, if they're driving all the way down here, taking time out of their day, I want them to see me and to know how much I appreciate them coming."
Tristin's obituary says "his last days were not filled with fear, sorrow or bitterness. instead, he left this earth full of the same joy and perseverance that defined his short 18 years."
"You would never know by talking to him or looking at him that he was facing such a devastating diagnosis," Ransom said, "He lived everyday, he never ever let it stop him for a second."
The Greer family asks that in lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Tristin's name to Emily's Power for a Cure or to Lana's Love Foundation. Both are local charities that help support children diagnosed with cancer and their families.