Remembering Cale: honoring a local soldier after cancer battle - WSMV News 4

Remembering Cale: honoring a local soldier after cancer battle

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A North Georgia soldier's fight with cancer came to an end Saturday morning.

The Murray County community had planned a balloon release that evening to help cheer Cale Wooten on to recovery. Instead, they celebrated his life.

Channel 3 first brought you Cale's story in January, when he was looking for a match for a crucial bone marrow transplant.

Though he never found that perfect match, Cale kept fighting to the end. His friends and family say his spirit was an inspiration to everyone.

Wooten was half way through basic training when he was diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia.

He said it would be an honor to fight for his country. But he ended up battling for his life.

To Murray County, Cale is a hero.

"It's kind of hard being a 19 year old kid carrying that burden," said balloon release co-organizer Tika Flood.

His smile, his positivity and his fighting spirit. That's what his friends and family said he'll be best remembered for.

He carried those traits to the end.

"From the moment that child was born, we knew he was going to be something special. It's just very hard to believe that he's already gone," said Terri Burcik, Cale's aunt.

His inspirational story brought the community together from the beginning of his battle. When they heard he had passed, dozens came to release balloons to celebrate his life and offer support to his family.

"Even people that didn't know Cale come to love him through his AML journey," said Ann Bradley, Cale's great aunt.

Channel 3 paid Cale a visit at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. in May.

"Keep your heads up. I'll be ok. I'll be home soon," he told us.

Team Cale organizers were taking donations at the balloon release. They said all that money raised will be going to Cale's family.

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