Battle with cancer ends for Fairfield’s brave ‘Superbubz’

Cancer-stricken youngster Walter Herbert’s life was short, but his legacy isn’t.

The Fairfield Central Elementary student who went by the nickname of “Superbubz” — and for many embodied a superhero’s courage — died earlier this morning at his home.

The first-grader’s brave struggle and buoyant attitude captured the hearts of the region as he was honored by major area sports stars, police departments and enjoyed a special early graduation from high school courtesy of Fairfield Schools.

“He was a wonderful little boy who touched so many in such a short period of time. His walk on this Earth will never be forgotten,” said Gina Gentry-Fletcher, spokeswoman for the Butler County school system.

Grief counselors will be made available today at Central Elementary, said Gentry-Fletcher.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

In a letter posted on the Fairfield Schools website this morning, Central Elementary Principal Karrie Gallo, who was close to Walter and his family, wrote:

“It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of Walter, aka Superbubz, Herbert, a first grade student at Central Elementary in Mrs. Pam Gemperle’s class. Superbubz bravely fought Stage 4 Neuroblastoma Cancer for 2 years and his journey ended peacefully on October 6th at 2:40 in the morning.”

“For those of you who knew Superbubz, we ask that you remember his happy spirit and celebrate his life. No matter how sick he was, he always maintained a smile that would light up the room. His love for school and his passion for life will never be forgotten,” said Gallo.

Thanks to Gallo and many others, Walter’s last months were filled with thrills that including his own special high school graduation ceremony, meeting and getting a bat during a Cincinnati Reds game from Joey Votto, being showcased and honored by players of the Cincinnati Bengals and many other activities.

Fairfield Schools Superintendent Billy Smith said of the youngster “anyone that had the pleasure of meeting Superbubz will remember his bright smile that could light up any room. He showed the courage of a true superhero as he fought a hard and brave battle against cancer.”

“He was a delightful young man who loved going to school, and Fairfield is a better place because he was, and will always be, a part of us. As we navigate this grieving process, our focus as a district is on providing support and encouragement to the Herbert family, as well as the many friends, and entire Fairfield community who will greatly miss him,” said Smith.

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