Hundreds gathered to remember Derrick Nash - WNEM TV 5

Hundreds gathered to remember Derrick Nash

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Jeremy Sheppard is among the friends trying to cope with the loss of Derrick Nash.

“I haven’t even processed it yet,” Sheppard said.

Echoing many of Nash’s family and friends, Sheppard wants to remember Nash for his strength.

"I want people to remember how strong he was, to remember how joyous he was,” Sheppard said. “It didn't matter how much pain he was in or what he was going through."

Sheppard knew Nash when he was the football star at Carlton High School. Nash was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013, at the end of his senior year at Carlton. He received a full-ride football scholarship from Central Michigan University, and had started working out with the team when his cancer came back in 2014.

 "Always trying to make others better around him, always having a great smile, always being someone that looks out for someone else," Sheppard said.

Nash died last week after his two-year battle with the disease.

“Nobody expected him to not beat this,” said Mary McKellip, a family friend.

McKellip works as a nurse with Nash's mother and saw firsthand how devastating his illness was for his family.

"He wasn't somebody who did anything half-way," McKellip said.

Friends and family say Nash leaves a legacy that will continue to live on.

"Look at the beauty of his strength and what he did for others and how he impacted lives despite what he was going through," Sheppard said.

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