She was a teen that touched hearts in the Roy-Hart community, and she continues to leave a lasting legacy nearly three years after her death. Now the parents and loved ones of Meghan Redenbach have carried out her final wish, knowing it's what she would've wanted.
Nothing has changed in the lime green bedroom of Meghan Redenbach. Not the posters on her door, or the photos on her dresser, or Christmas list on a notepad. They've sat untouched for nearly three years. That's when 15-year-old Meghan passed away.
Two on Your Side first met the Roy-Hart student when she was cheering on her teammates, yet frustrated that she was sidelined because of her illness.
"She didn't want to be remembered as the girl with cancer," said her father, Mike Redenbach. "She was a fighter. She was determined and her drive was unbelievable."
With this smile on her face, you wouldn't know she was battling an extremely rare disease- fibrocarcoma- which at that time had touched just one other child in the world.
From the beginning of her battle, Meghan's mother kept a journal, documenting the details.
"It was just for me like for medicines, and what I needed to do and what happened this day," said Nancy Redenbach.
She never knew that Meghan herself was writing down her own thoughts.
Debbie Holahan, Meghan's 10th grade English teacher, vividly remembers one night during a tutoring session when Meghan asked her a simple question.
"I want to write a book- would you help me?" Debbie recalled.
It was a sacred secret just between the two of them.
"She would try to tell me, 'now we don't have a lot of time. We've got to do this.' And I'd look at her like I don't believe you, but she knew. And she made me promise that I would finish it with her parents," said Debbie.
It was a month after her death, when Debbie finally had the courage to tell Meghan's parents about their secret...Meghan's dying wish.
"Meghan was kind of mischief, so it was right up her ally," was Mike's response.
So Debbie - together with Meghan's parents- worked on carrying out her wish. They wrote the book around comments from friends and loved ones, and Nancy's own journal.
Excerpt from pg. 156: "Meg was in a good mood today. Today was the first day she could participate in sports."
Of course the most poignant parts come from Meghan herself.
Excerpt from pg. 29: [My dad] put his hand in mine and he squeezed it. I had only seen my dad cry one other time in my life…His face buried in my hands. Dad I said quietly, "We're going to be ok. I promise we're going to be ok. Now man up, would you?"
Those two words "Man Up" had been Meghan's motto throughout her fight.
"I know they're hurting, but I just tell them to man up because there could be so much worse," Meghan told 2 On Your Side in 2009.
It's a story of strength, courage, and love. And it's a story that ends with one final and lasting surprise that Meghan left for her parents. They found it when Nancy was searching for a sewing kit in Meghan's room....the lime green one that was left untouched after all these years.
Nancy opened a drawer in Meghan's nightstand and found a teal box with a teal journal inside. The only entry in the journal was a letter from Meghan written to her parents and brother, Nicholas.
The short, sweet, and powerful note begins, "Well, you found it." The entire letter is printed in Meghan's handwriting at the end of the book.
The book is being launched on Tuesday night and Meghan's parents know she'd be proud of it.
"It's kind of a bittersweet thing because we know it's something she wanted and something that she could maybe help other people [by sharing]," said Mike.
"She just wants people to know I think that you need to just keep moving on and don't feel sorry for yourself and do the best you can," Nancy said.
"She wanted other people to be helped by her experience," said Debbie.
And others will be helped - certainly through her words- but also through the book's proceeds. They're going to be donated to Roswell Park, Carly's Club, Make-A-Wish, and a Roy-Hart scholarship fund. Even in her death she'll continue to give back to those that helped her through her most trying times.
"She was always determined in what she wanted to do and if she put her mind to something, she'd follow through," said Mike.
The book launch for "Meghan's Journey" is Tuesday at Terry's Corners Fire Hall in Gasport from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Books will be available at the event for a $19.99 donation to Meghan's Fund. You can also get the book through both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and meghansjourney.com .