East Texas girl dies after year-long medical fight

By Taylor Hemness - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Last November, at the age of 10, Olivia Nolley started having trouble writing, and doctors discovered a tumor on her spine.

She's been dealing with the illness since then. But her friends say her death Wednesday morning was peaceful.

"She was surrounded by her family and Psalms and prayers were being said, and I love you's, and things like that."

Jay Ferguson is the headmaster of Grace Community School, and was at the Nolley family home just before 8AM Wednesday morning when Olivia died.

"It was a really sweet time, it was a good time, and she passed very peacefully, and God took her home."

It was last year that doctors operated on Olivia's spine to try and remove the tumor. Olivia was left largely paralyzed. But Ferguson says she was still excited about the beginning of this school year.

"She was looking forward to having the opportunity to come to junior high like all of the sixth graders do," Ferguson said. "She was able to be with us for a week or a little more before she had to stay home."

This is the second tragedy for the Nolley family in just over two years. Olivia's father Stan died from a seizure that followed surgery from a brain tumor.

Before Olivia's death, her mom told KLTV that through both instances, her prayer life has been challenged.

"I pray for His will and I pray for His peace and I pray for His understanding," Judy Nolley said. "That I know may not come till I stand face to face with Him one day. It would make it easier now...but there are some things we just won't know until we stand face to face with Him."

On Wednesday, Ferguson said that there were counselors available, but the teachers at grace also have a chance to talk about Olivia's death with their students.

"The teachers are able to pray with the students, and just to convey to them the hope that they have in the Lord, and the opportunity to share with them that Olivia is now in Heaven with the Lord."

Ferguson says the school is planning some observances in Olivia's honor, but said he's not quite certain yet when those will take place.

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