Josh Hardy, Va. Boy Who Inspired Social Media Campaign, Dies

The Fredericksburg, Virginia, boy, whose family sparked a social media movement to provide him access to an experimental drug, has died. 

Josh Hardy, 10, died Thursday at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, according to The Free Lance-Star. His funeral is scheduled for Saturday at Fredericksburgh Baptist Church.

Many people attended a "Superhero Costume Celebration" in Josh's memory on Friday at the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center.

Josh's family first made headlines in March 2014 after he caught a rare viral infection following a bone marrow transplant to treat cancer.

His family begged the pharmaceutical company Chimerix to give Josh Brincidofovir, an experimental drug they heard may help treat his illness, but the company refused.

Fearing that Brincidofovir was the only thing that had a chance of saving their beloved son -- and knowing they had just days to do it, Josh's parents turned to social media and ignited the #SaveJosh campaign.

Thousands of people joined the campaign, and after just a little more than a week, Chimerix announced that it would allow Josh to receive the medication. And after just three doses, Josh began to recover.

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But in January 2016, Josh's health began to decline. 

According to The Free Lance-Star, he was having trouble breathing and spent most of this year in the hospital. 

A day before his death, Josh's family posted a message on the Save Josh Facebook page, thanking God for what would be their last day with him. 

"Thank you for the many miracles we have witnessed," the post read. "It's hard to believe You will not deliver him again."

Hours later, a photo of a the hashtag #SaveJosh was replaced with the photo of a black ribbon -- a symbol of remembrance or mourning.

A final post reads, "We will do what is hard. We will achieve what is great. We will do what is required. We will find a cure."

“I just instantly broke down crying because he’s the most amazing, amazing little guy and he would never, ever, ever give up,” said his kindergarten teacher, Christine Montgomery.

Teacher Tony Wishard remembered Josh's sense of humor. The boy sent him a signed baseball and told him to hold onto it, it'll be worth something someday. Wishard now has it framed.

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