Balloons released in memory of Destiny Keathley

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CLINTON, Tenn. (WVLT) - Two communities are saying goodbye to a young girl who inspired many.

Destiny Keathley died at her home in Crossville on Wednesday.

Her death touched lives in Cumberland County, and also in Anderson County where she grew up.

On Sunday her family's church in Clinton, Antioch Baptist Church, released balloons in her memory.

Angel Bowman says it was hard to keep the faith as her daughter neared the end, but Destiny never stopped believing.

"She was my strength. And I have to say that when we were in the hospital in Orlando, we asked her and she was coming and going. We asked her when she was awake one time if she was scared, and she said no," said Bowman.

"She was a beautiful little girl who loved the Lord, and it seemed so real any time she talked about him," said Kim Stooksbury, Destiny's former Sunday School teacher.

Her family extends from Crossville to Anderson County. Her former Sunday school classmates spent the morning writing notes tied at the end of balloons.

"I think it would make her happy because she's still doing it. She's still touching, after her death, she's still touching," said Bowman.

The congregation of Antioch Baptist Church stood in the parking lot together and released the balloons up to Destiny.

"I know that's how she would've wanted it. She was very close to her church family, and everything. I know it would've meant a lot to her. It meant a lot to me," said Bowman.

"I thanked her for the life that she lived out. And for how she changed me," said Bowman.

Angel stayed strong for Destiny, but will remember what she told her in the ambulance, that she loved her, and her beloved Papaw.

"He (Papaw) leaned down and said, you tell them you love your papaw the most, and she said I love my papaw the most. And those were the last words. You could just tell she was still happy," said Bowman.

There will also be a balloon release on the football field at the Lake City Community Center on Monday at 5:30.

Destiny went to Lake City Elementary before her family moved to Crossville.

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