A community in Kokomo, Indiana, said goodbye to 11-year-old Ryana Nix in a truly magical way. According to Fox 59 News, Ryana passed away on Monday after battling with leukemia. The young girl was a huge fan of Harry Potter, and her family says she read all of the books from the series.
Ryana’s mother, Kayla Beatty, decided to honor and pay tribute to her daughter’s love of Harry Potter in the only way she could think of: a Harry Potter funeral. She and the staff of Sunset Memory Garden Funeral Home worked together to set up the themed funeral to say goodbye to her daughter.
Her family had one simple wish for the funeral, and that was for Harry Potter fans to dress up as characters from the series and attend the funeral. A local comic book store caught wind of the family’s sweet request and blasted it on social media. As a result, dozens of strangers dressed as characters from the Harry Potter series came from all over, some from miles away, to say goodbye to Ryana.
“I can not thank everybody enough who has come out,” said Beatty to Fox 59 News.
There were some Harry Potter fans who were complete strangers to the family but who drove for more than an hour and a half to pay their respects to Ryana. Phillip McFarland, for example, dug out some of his favorite Hogwarts themed clothing and traveled all the way from Plymouth to pay his respects to the young girl. Phillip was accompanied by his friend Sandra Valdes, who was also a fan of Harry Potter. Sandra decided to wear a Ravenclaw cloak because she knew Ryana was a member of the Ravenclaw house as well.
Kokomo says goodbye to 11-year-old girl with Harry Potter-themed funeral – Fox 59 https://t.co/itAGjvDiCp
— Harry Potter (@HarryPotter361) August 19, 2018
“It felt only right for me to kind of help comfort the family and send her off in a good way,” Valdes said as she explained her reasoning for coming to the funeral.
“Harry Potter has a very large impact on a lot of people’s lives and it really brings people together. They have had a lot of people coming here don’t even know the family,” Phillip added speaking to WTHR 13 News.
@Evy_Lynch @jk_rowling @OliverPhelps @James_Phelps @TomFelton @thisisbwright @EmmaWatson @Mattdavelewis Wands up for this 11 year old girl! They are having a Harry Potter Funeral. https://t.co/R863oAiFnJ
— Cupid (@TheArcherCupid) August 17, 2018
According to the family, it was in December that the young girl was diagnosed with leukemia. She was already battling with cystic fibrosis at the time. Friends, family members, and strangers came together wearing purple and orange ribbons in honor of the Ryana’s love for Harry Potter. Even the chapel where the funeral was hosted was decked out in Harry Potter themed decor.
Ryana’s mother told local news outlets that her daughter was an amazing girl that loved everyone. She also noted that her daughter was the kind of child everyone fell in love with after meeting her.
ICYMI: Strangers from miles away attend funeral to pay respects to girl who loved Harry Potter
— Alyssa Raymond (@AlyssaRaymond) August 19, 2018
According to her mother, Harry Potter provided Ryana with an escape from all the pain she endured during her treatments at Riley Hospital. The young girl’s family found some comfort in the love and support from total strangers who responded to their simple wish. They believed the funeral ended up being the perfect way to celebrate and honor their daughter.