The 17-year-old Acworth girl who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor her freshman year, and who captured headlines for her determination to graduate from high school before passing, died peacefully at her home early Tuesday, surrounded by family and friends she loved the most, her mother said.
"She was an amazing kid who only wanted to make a difference in this world," her mother, Kristina Boswell said. "She fought with courage, faith and dignity, and she died the same way."
On Aug. 8, Faith graduated from Kennesaw Mountain High School in a special commencement since doctors were unsure how much longer she was going to live. The rising senior had already completed all of her graduation requirements. Dozens of family members and hundreds of students, teachers and Kennesaw officials, packed the KMH auditorium to show support - and cheered during a standing ovation after the tearful teen was handed her diploma.
Graduating was just one of the goals Faith set out to accomplish before she died. Another was to speak to one of her idols, famous country singer Carrie Underwood, who called Faith five days after her graduation ceremony.
"She was so excited when the call came in," Kristina Boswell said. "She was a little speechless at first and just sat there with a big grin on her face. She told her what a fan she was watching her on 'American Idol.' She congratulated (Underwood) for getting married. She was grinning and said, 'mom, she was just talking to me like a regular person.' She just talked to her about going on tour and her husband."
Kristina Boswell said Faith also received an autographed picture and t-shirt from Underwood. And that's not the only country music star who got caught up in Faith's heart wrenching story. She also got a t-shirt from Kenney Chesney, which remains hung on the wall in Faith's room, signed, "Love you, Kenney," Faith's mom said.
Also on her list of things to do before dying was to meet her half-brother, take a mission trip, cruise the Caribbean, ski in Utah and attend a Braves game in the VIP section, which all happened. Perhaps most importantly, however, Faith listed that she wanted to make a difference in the world, which certainly occurred.
After her story was printed in the Journal and through other media, readers and family thanked the teenager for being an inspiration and showing them they can achieve anything.
Faith's yearbook quote is: "Never give up hope and you will do great things, I already know."
That quote became words of inspiration for her classmates.
The day after she was diagnosed on March 28, 2008, doctors told Faith that they planned to immediately admit her into a hospital. But Faith, who was heavily involved in chorus and the Navy Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps at school, was determined to be present for a JROTC annual military inspection the next day.
"She proceeded to scream and holler because she said, 'I will not miss school tomorrow. I've worked too hard. I am not missing school,'" Kristina Boswell earlier said.
Faith's stepfather, Paul Boswell, called Faith "an inspiration."
"She fought to go to school, even though she was in and out of the hospital and under treatment," he said.
KMH Principal Dr. Kevin Daniel called her determination "contagious."
In an email sent to Cobb County School District officials on Tuesday, Daniel wrote: "I wanted to inform you that early this morning our well loved Mustang, Ms. Faith Cline, passed away. We dedicated our moment of quiet reflection to her and have visited her classrooms ... Thanks again for your support of the graduation ceremony earlier this month for Faith. It was a great event honoring a wonderful young lady."
Daniel said guidance counselors are available and staff are visiting classes and checking on students.
Faith, who died at 2:58 a.m. Tuesday, lived nearly a year longer than the 14 months doctors said she would after being diagnosed. Her funeral will be 11 a.m. Saturday at North Metro Church, 2305 Barrett Parkway, Kennesaw, 30064. Visitation will be Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the church.
Faith requested that the funeral be held on a Saturday so her classmates could attend, her mother said. She also requested that attendees were green instead of black, since green was her favorite color.
In lieu of flowers, Faith requested that people make a donation to the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children, 6065 Roswell Road, NW, suite 505, Atlanta, Ga., 30328. The website is www.braintumorkids.org.
"She wanted to do that for what they did for her family and other families, and she wanted to say thank you for that," Kristina Boswell said.
Faith is survived by her mother; stepfather; siblings Jeremy Boswell, 22, Patience Cline, 15, and Isaac Cline, 12; and her grandparents, Kim and Jerry Potts, Charlene McDonald, Marie Davenport and Steve Russell.