VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - They came, looking like a sea of orange--Natalie's favorite color, more than 200 strong.
Prayers were said, candles were lit, even a prayerful cheer could be heard.
So could Natalie Hightower herself, face timing her friends by cell phone from her hospital bed.
The 12-year-old Vancleave Middle School student underwent surgery this past Monday to remove a brain tumor.
Vancleave Middle School Principal Jill Davis said, once Hightower had the large tumor removed, she did not get a good pathology report back from doctors.
The idea for the vigil came together quickly.
"Well, everybody just wanted to help and they didn't know how to help. And we just thought that as a community we could gather together and pray for Natalie," vigil organizer Beth Peterson said.
"It means a lot to us, to know that everybody cares about Natalie so much. Everybody is praying for her, it just means so much," Hightower's best friend Makayla Moore said.
This is a community that cares deeply for their own.
"Vancleave is a real tight community and if you ever want anybody to support you and back you up, these would be the people I want behind me," said Gregg Moss, who attended the vigil.
Many view Hightower as a very special child to all of them, someone who lights up any room that she walks into.
"Natalie is a precious little girl. She's a good student, pays attention, brings a lot of laughter and liveliness to the classroom," Hightower's teacher Kelly Breland said.
As the evening passed, donations came in, shirts and bracelets were sold resulting in buckets full of money. In the end
though, it was still all about Natalie and the impact she has on people.
"She's just very nice and talkative. She talks to everybody. She's just very nice and not a mean bone in her body," Hightower's friend Jason Moss said.
The vigil also meant something even greater for Vancleave and its people.
"It warms you heart and brings tears to you eyes to see all these people who care," Breland added.