A spunky sense of style. An amazing singing voice. An endless supply of friends. A heart for God.
This made up Ramey Reeves, a Hanahan mother whose life was defined by her faith but cut short by brain cancer.
Reeves died Wednesday afternoon at the Hospice Center in Mount Pleasant, five weeks after doctors removed a rapidly growing second tumor. The 33-year-old leaves behind a son, Judah, 7, and her husband, John, a sergeant with the Charleston Police Department. Her mother, father and sister, along with other relatives and dozens of friends, stayed beside her during her final days, talking to her, singing Christian praise songs, decorating her room and painting her toenails.
A story about Reeves' life after being diagnosed was featured in March on the front page of The Post and Courier. It was titled "An Unshakable Faith."
While thousands of people each year in the United States learn they have a brain tumor, Reeves was diagnosed with one of the most formidable.
Doctors told Reeves in January she had an anaplastic astrocytoma tumor, and a neurosurgeon at Duke University Hospital removed the mass March 20 but was concerned that cells from the tumor had reached other parts of her brain.
But before she could begin follow-up treatment, a second tumor formed in her brain and grew faster and larger than the first. The tumor swelled and caused seizures and severe pain, prompting doctors at Medical University Hospital to conduct emergency surgery June 4. Although they removed the second mass, the damage the tumor inflicted on her brain, coupled with the trauma of a second surgery, forced Reeves into a deep sleep from which she never fully awoke.
Raised in Lynchburg, Va., Reeves attended Liberty University where she met her husband and later moved to
Charleston when he took a job with the Police Department.
In recent years, she was the lead singer in the worship band and greeted visitors at The Crossover church on Savannah Highway.
"She made people feel like they were family, like they were her best friend," said Sean Nelson, pastor of The Crossover. "I don't care what lady you talk to, every single one of them will say: 'That was my best friend.' "
Outside church, Ramey gave away CDs of her singing, dropped by friends' homes to chat and hardly ever missed an opportunity to talk to strangers about her faith. She had her own sense of dress, constantly changing the color of her hair and scanning the clothing aisles of Marshalls on a weekly basis for something new.
Throughout her life, Reeves developed a vast network of friends. In the days following her first surgery, friends put up a blog at www.prayforramey.com, where daily updates on her struggle and notes of encouragement are posted. The total number of visits to the blog has reached more than 77,000, and donations to help the Reeves family have climbed to nearly $15,000.
People loved Reeves because they saw God's love in her, said Bethany Miller, one of her closest friends. She visited Reeves almost every day for the past five months.
"I want to serve others the way that she served others," Miller said. "And when I see her again, I want her to say to me, 'Good job, girl. I missed you.' "