Community says goodbye to 11-year-old girl with Harry Potter-themed funeral

KOKOMO, Ind. - Ryana Alexis Nix lost her fight with Leukemia last week, so family, friends, and complete strangers came together to say goodbye to the 11-year-old in a magical way.

To pay tribute to Ryana’s love of Harry Potter, her mom Kayla Beatty and the staff at the Sunset Memory Garden Funeral Home discussed a Harry Potter theme for her funeral. Her family told WXIN she read every book.

Dozens of fans who do not even know the family came to her funeral on Saturday dressed up as series characters. The response came after a local comic book store shared the request on Facebook.

"I can not thank everybody enough who has come out," said Beatty.

Some Harry Potter fans drove an hour and a half to attend the funeral. Phillip McFarland is from Plymouth and he put on his best Hogwarts attire to show his support. He came with his friend Sandra Valdes who wore a Ravenclaw cloak because Ryana was in that house too.

"It felt only right for me to kind of help comfort the family and send her off in a good way," said Valdes.

The bright 11-year-old girl was diagnosed with Leukemia in December as she was also battling Cystic fibrosis. Family, friends, and strangers wore orange and purple ribbons at the funeral in her honor. The chapel was also decorated to fit the Harry Potter theme.

"She loved everybody. Everybody she met loved her and she was just amazing," Beatty said.

Beatty said Harry Potter was her daughter's escape from all the pain. She said Ryana had a Harry Potter book with her as she received treatment at Riley Hospital.

Her family said the outpouring of support from strangers on Saturday brought a little bit of comfort. They thought it was the perfect way to celebrate Ryana's life.