Opp teen remembered as ‘sweetest child’

Published 12:34 am Saturday, October 11, 2014

Friends, family members and classmates are mourning a young Opp High School student who lost an almost two-year battle against cancer.

Breonia Nicole Parks, a junior at OHS and member of the color guard, died Friday morning.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this difficult time,” Superintendent for Opp City Schools Michael Smithart said. “We have lost another jewel and we ask that everyone keep Breonia’s family, our community and students in their thoughts and prayers.”

Parks, the daughter of Marcus and Liz Parks, was diagnosed with stage-4 rhabdomyosarcoma in February 2013 and in August 2014 she became so sick that she was airlifted to Birmingham and placed in ICU.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a cancerous tumor of the muscles that are attached to the bones.

This week Parks was sent back to ICU with similar problems.

“She fought hard all the way up to the end,” OHS band director Randy Hughey said. “She was the sweetest child you would ever meet, with a beautiful smile on her face and was friends to everyone.

“Her attitude up until the very last days was incredible,” he said.

An outpouring of support and prayers have flooded the family and friend’s Facebook pages, as well as the community page, “Blessings for Breonia.”

Sandy Liles set up “Blessings for Breonia” as a support page for Parks and her family and a way for area residents to help through prayers, get well wishes and monetary donations.

Hughey said that the OHS band wore ribbons and dedicated their halftime show to Parks during Friday’s performance.

“We’re going to dedicate the rest of the halftime shows to her,” he said. “Next weekend at Little Big Horn, we’re going to present the Fans’ Favorite award in her honor, because she was everyone’s favorite.”

Opp City School students were out Friday, and will be out again on Monday, for holidays. Smithart said there would be additional counselors on hand when school resumes Tuesday, and he said he has asked local churches to assist Opp students as they grieve.

“Breonia inspired so many of our students during her illness with her faith and determination,” he said. “I believe her spirit will continue to inspire our schools and community for years to come.”

She is also survived by her brother, Marquis Parks.

Arrangements had not been made by press time.