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Visalia Boy Loses Cancer Battle

6-year old Cash Shank passed away Thursday. In his honor, family members are asking the community to donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
6-year old Cash Shank was a courageous little boy with the spirit of a superhero.  After enduring years of pain, he finally hung up his cape on Thursday.

Following the sad news, KJUG Country disc jockey, Rose Ortega, made Cash the centerpiece of her radio show.  She dedicated songs from the late Johnny Cash to the young boy.  The legendary musician whom he was named after.
     
In recent years, Ortega has formed a tight relationship with the Shank family.  He's a special little boy who has brought so much light and happiness to so many people.  I just felt like he really needed to be elevated today in a special way," said Rose Ortega of KJUG 106.7.
     
Cash's Facebook page exploded with messages.  Friends and even complete strangers reached out to share their sympathy.  Ortega shared these words from the family.

"They want to say thank you.  Their hearts are filled with gratitude," said Ortega.

News of Cash's passing quickly made it to the Visalia Fire Department as well.

"It's hard to grab obviously," said Battalion Chief Darrin Hughes of the Visalia Fire Dept.

Cash dreamed of becoming a firefighter and made many friends at the deparment.
     
Battalion Chief Darrin Hughes says cash was a fearless youngster who had all the characteristics needed to do the job.

"Just his attitude, that's what we look for in firefighters, just a great positive attitude on life and just a people person," said Hughes.

Cash was not shy around hollywood star, Jennifer Anniston.  Last year, the two shot a commercial for Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital.  Brain cancer treatments at St. Jude helped extend Cash's life.  Now, his family is asking that you donate in his name to help other sick children.

"Your dollars are very important when it comes to finding a cure," said Ortega.

On November 26th, 2013, the city of Visalia proclaimed it to be "Cash Shank Day".  Two and a half months later his short life is over, but his legacy lives on.

"He's a reminder to all of us to be resilient, to be strong, to keep going in spite of your circumstances," said Ortega.

To make a donation to St. Jude, click on the link at the top of this page.
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