ROCHESTER, NY -- Blake Cognata, a Fairport High School teen battling a rare form of cancer, has died, the family confirmed Saturday morning.
Cognata would have turned 18 Monday.
The family has asked that others respect their privacy while they mourn the loss.
Cognata was on the minds of many people in the Rochester area this week after he was hospitalized last weekend when his condition worsened. His story was thrust into the national spotlight Monday when he received a call from star NFL player Adrian Peterson. A social media movement led to the Minnesota Vikings star calling Cognata to give him words of encouragement while he rested at Strong Memorial Hospital.
Since, the school and community rallied around Cognata. At a hockey game Tuesday against rival Pittsford, students wore yellow to show their support. Fairport has postponed today's game against Webster Schroeder, which was scheduled for 3 p.m. A make-up date has not been announced.
Sunday's fundraiser, set up earlier this week in the form of boot-camp style fitness training sessions to benefit Cognata's family, is on as scheduled, according to Julie Earl, the owner of F.I.T. She and fellow East Rochester fitness trainers reached out to Fairport athletes asking what they could do for the family and the ideas of the training sessions emerged. The classes filled up quickly.
Cognata, 17, was battling Ewing's sarcoma, a disease that attacks the bones that was diagnosed on Feb. 1. He was forced to stop playing football and lacrosse at Fairport High School.
A Facebook page devoted to the Fairport High School football team expressed condolences Saturday morning. The message, "Rest in peace Blake. You will be missed #62. Watch over your Fairport Family. Once A Raider ... Always A Raider," was posted at 10 a.m.
All week on Twitter, friends and family members offered support, using hashtags such as #staystrongblake and #findyourstrong.
Even those that did not know Cognata wanted to show their support.
"I actually did not know him personally but heard about him from a couple of my friends from Fairport," said Kayli O'Keefe, 18, of Pittsford.
The Harley-Allendale Columbia senior urged people at her school to wear yellow shirts Friday.
"Being it someone so young, it just really hit us," she said. "Harley is a school that has people from all over Rochester and we really wanted to show our support for Fairport and Blake ... I'd say at least two-thirds of the high school wore yellow that day."
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