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Rebecca Sedwick: Lakeland bullying suicide victim's Bartow funeral has colorful tribute

12:55 PM, Sep 16, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Funeral held for girl driven to suicide by bullying

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Bartow, Florida -- Becca Sedwick didn't like black. Too dreary. So her family asked friends coming to her funeral to wear bright colors.

Crowds of people answered the call, wearing eye-squinting shades of lime green, pink, and yellow.

Rebecca Sedwick's loved ones said their final goodbyes at a funeral Monday. Her mother says the 12-year-old from Lakeland took her own life last week because of bullying.

In a Bartow funeral home packed to its capacity, the colorful shirts and skirts matched Sedwick's glowing personality.

"She smiled all the time and she joked and played around. She was just a happy girl, and very funny. And she was amazing," said Sedwick's friend Lyndsey Brown.

Brown is one of several friends who say they were shocked to hear Sedwick's playful smile hid the pain of a year and a half of bullying.

It started in person, and after she changed schools to get away, the torment continued online.

Also read: Mom who lost daughter launches anti-bullying campaign

Polk County Sheriff's investigators say she committed suicide at an abandoned cement facility near her home when the bullies' message -- that she's worthless -- took hold of her and wouldn't let go.

Monday happens to be a teacher workday in Polk County. Students are out of school, so many of her friends were able to come to the funeral service to say goodbye.

Many of the people who walked with heavy hearts into the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home wore shirts with slogans calling for an end to the hateful, heartless hounding of bullies.

"They're hurting someone on the inside. And if something happens like what happened to Rebecca, they're hurting a whole bunch of other people," Brown said.

The funeral director said a new challenge begins the day after the service -- for her friends and family to turn this tragedy into an opportunity to speak out and fight against bullying, in Becca's name.

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