COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Martin Thiele endured a lot in his short 18 years on Earth.
He was a member of the Scott's Ride for Miracles group, and his perseverance was inspiring.
"When everything was stacked against him, he had a smile bigger than life and when we would go to try to lift his spirits up and Martin would life your spirits," explains Scott Ressmeyer of Scott's Ride for Miracles.
Thiele lost his four-year battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer, Thursday morning.
The Hardaway High School graduate had been involved with Scott's Ride for Miracles for several years.
We caught up with him two years ago in 2013, when he took to the sky to cheer on Scott's Riders in a helicopter.
Thiele's dream was to one day become a nurse.
"I've learned my share of things. I am able to do a lot of stuff that I see the student nurses do," Thiele said in 2013.
Thiele hit the road with the Riders in 2014, and Ressmeyer says he was just one of the guys.
"I can see him coming out of the hotel room, grinning from ear to ear and he's putting on his chaps and leather jacket. It was a highlight of all of our lives," says Ressmeyer.
On Friday, the Miracle Riders will leave Midtown Medical Center on their seventh and final ride through all lower 48 states to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network.
Ressmeyer says his smile will be missed.
"Sure we cry now, but when we start up and leave we'll be sad, but we'll be smiling, because that's what Martin wants," says Ressmeyer.