KARNS CITY, Pa. (EYT/D9) – One by one members of the Karns City girls basketball team gave Jason, Tara and Celtan Hackwelder a big hug.
They wore pink shirts with “Team Elizabeth Jeanne” written on the back. They also wore socks with Elizabeth’s initials stitched on the welt for the game against Moniteau Thursday night.
Elizabeth died Aug. 6, 2021 from ZTTK Syndrome, a rare disease caused by a genetic mutation.
Elizabeth was 8.
Her father, Jason, is a teacher in the Karns City school district and is also an assistant football coach.
During the football season, the Gremlins wore a decal on their helmets honoring Elizabeth.
Tara, Elizabeth’s mother, was a teacher in the Karns City district, but left that job to care for Elizabeth and Celton. She will serve on the Karns City School Board and is also opening a bakery in Chicora called Boham Raspberry.
The Karns City volleyball team also honored Elizabeth this fall by wearing bows in their hair during matches.
The school held a pregame ceremony Thursday, presenting the family with a framed picture, a bouquet of flowers and socks with Elizabeth’s initials like the ones the players wore in the game against Moniteau.
“Though Elizabeth is not with us here on earth,” said public address announcer Sam Swick. “she is definitely here in spirit and will live on in our hearts.”