Roanoke community remembers Sarabeth Hammond

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - A celebration Saturday remembered the life of 17-year-old Sarabeth Hammond.

It's the first time a public memorial has been organized since her death in a car accident in Roanoke County last December.

It was a shock to the entire community that learned last December, after a three day search, that Sarabeth Hammond had been killed when her car crashed on the side of Bent Mountain in Roanoke County.

"It's been hard lately, and there have been ups and downs for all of us," said Pierce Hammond, Sarabeth's brother.

Those emotions were translated Saturday into song, something Sarabeth loved.

Pierce said, "She was such an inspiration to everybody. I mean, she was so talented."

That artistic spirit inspired Sarabeth's long-time friend Megan Bowles to raise money for the Roanoke Children's Theater by selling bracelets in her name.

"We've got so many orders. The pre-orders alone was 250, so it's been amazing that we've been able to support her in that," said Bowles.

But event organizer Robin Miles says Sarabeth had many more outlets of reaching the community.

"She touched so many people through her activities, through her Lyme disease," said Miles.

Lyme disease was something Sarabeth lived with most of her life, and Pierce says she used it to connect with others.

"People with Lyme disease all over the world, and it was crazy, I mean she'd be like 'Oh my friend Germany is, she just sent me an envelope," said Pierce.

The day ended Saturday with a balloon release in Sarabeth's memory.

Pierce said, "It really made me satisfied and happy that so many people care, even people I don't know."

We've also reported in the past that Sarabeth was an avid writer and blogger, and a scholarship has also been set up in her name at Hollins University for $5,000.