After Battle with Brain Cancer, Alabama Color Guard Member Dies Morning of Title Game
Hours before her school faced off against Georgia in the National Championship game on Monday, 20-year-old Stephanie Haydee Cartagena, a member of the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band's color guard, passed away following a brave fight with brain cancer.
Cartagena was a native of Theodore, Alabama, and a graduate of Davidson High School, AL.com reports. She leaves behind her parents, a sister and her boyfriend, a fellow UA student.
"Stephanie was a woman filled with light. She touched the heart and souls of every person she came in contact with," her obituary reads. "She had an amazing smile that was always contagious. Through her struggle with cancer, Stephanie made it a point to remain positive, and continue to live life to the fullest. She was the personification of strength and courage. She is loved by so very many, and will be greatly missed."
Both UA's Million Dollar Band and UGA's Redcoat Marching Band wore silver ribbons at Monday night's game in her honor.
"It was an honor to witness our own Wonder Woman's perseverance throughout her journey and stand by her side while she fought on," band officials said in a statement on Facebook. "Stephanie taught all of us to live happily and cherish each moment we get with each other. While her time with us was short, the legacy she left this team with will continue on for centuries."
Funeral services for will be held Saturday at Pine Crest Funeral Home in Mobile. A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help with associated expenses.