We've been doing "The Free Beer & Hot Wings Morning Show" with heavy hearts for the last couple of days.

Over the weekend, we learned that Olivia Veldink was not doing well and had been hospitalized.

The Jenison family of Mary and Dave Veldink, at right, includes Abby, Kate and Olivia Veldink. Kate and Olivia suffer from a neuromuscular disorder, Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T). (Photo courtesy Dave Veldink)

We got to know Olivia; her sister, Kate; and the rest of the Veldink family, of Jenison, years ago when we got involved with the A-T Children's Project.

Olivia and Kate both suffer Ataxia Telangiectasia, a rare neuromuscular degenerative disorder and genetic disease that primarily attacks children, causing progressive loss of muscle control, immune system problems and a high rate of cancer.

On Tuesday at 3:20 p.m., Olivia lost her fight. She was 13 years old.

Even with everything that was working against her, Olivia never stopped smiling. She was an inspiration. And we can only hope that she's in a much better place now, free of her wheelchair and this terrible disease.

AT is beatable. It's rare, meaning it doesn't get much funding. And funding is the only thing keeping it from being cured.

The Veldink family released this statement Tuesday:

It is with extreme sorrow, yet thanksgiving that we released Olivia into the arms of Jesus. Livi took her last breath, in peace, at 3:20 p.m. today. She was surrounded by her family that loves her more than words can express. LIVI IS DANCING THIS VERY MINUTE. ... SHE IS HEALED. ... SHE IS FREE! Please remember Livi in happy ways."

The Veldink family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to help fund A-T research. Visitation is 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Fair Haven Church, 2900 Baldwin St. in Jenison, with a celebration of her life following at 6 p.m. Friday at the church.

Rest in peace, Livi. We are going to miss you terribly.

'Free Beer & Hot Wings' Remembers Olivia Veldink

A-T Children's Project Videos About Kate and Olivia Veldink

Source: Free Beer & Hot Wings