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Mom Shared Heartbreaking Back-to-School Photo of Her Daughter in 2016 – And a Timeless Message for Everyone

Brittany Chalmers
Sep 17, 2021
01:30 A.M.
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This month, as parents posted snapshots of their little ones returning to school, a mother decided to bring awareness to a devastating reality that she lived through 5 years ago.

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A mother shared the tragic story of her child's passing to make people aware of the reality of childhood cancer. The effects it has on parents are devastating, and with her post, she hopes to help other families.

Julie Apicella shared a sad photo that showed her smiling daughter Emily's first day of school in 2015. The little girl had a shaved head because of her chemotherapy.

A mother posts a photo of her daughter's first day of school alongside a photo from the next year where she is no longer in the image because she passed away | Photo: Facebook/julie.apicella

A mother posts a photo of her daughter's first day of school alongside a photo from the next year where she is no longer in the image because she passed away | Photo: Facebook/julie.apicella

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THE HEARTBREAKING PHOTO

Emily was fighting a battle against Wilms’ tumor, a form of kidney cancer. The second photo that was added alongside the happy snap of the girl's first day was heartbreaking.

It was taken in 2016 and showed the same spot the girl had stood in the year before. However, in this shot, Emily was missing. The eight-year-old girl passed away after three years of fighting.

Netizens share heartfelt messages for a mother who lost her daughter to cancer | Photo: Facebook/Julie Apicella

Netizens share heartfelt messages for a mother who lost her daughter to cancer | Photo: Facebook/Julie Apicella

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THE MOTHER'S HEARTFELT PLEA

This year, the image went viral again during September, which is childhood cancer awareness month. The original post was captioned: “School photo time - obviously someone very special missing - my daughter Emily."

The mother also added a plea for parents to change their profile pictures to gold to share awareness. She wrote: “Nearly everyone on my list has children or family members, and this could be your reality in the future."

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THE GOLDEN RIBBON

She wanted people to know that childhood cancer was not as rare as most thought. The golden ribbon symbolizes childhood cancer, and the mother hoped people would post about it online.

In the year of her diagnosis, Emily was one of only 70 kids in the United Kingdom to experience this. She fought a hard battle for years and underwent various surgeries in an attempt to overcome the sickness.

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RAISING AWARENESS

However, after they tried to use a trial drug without any success, the family chose to spend her last moments making memories. The mother hopes that the funding toward this form of cancer research will increase by raising awareness.

As part of her post, Apicella also included the symptoms parents should look out for. Commentators offered support and sympathies for this mother. One user said: "So sad. Everyone should go gold for your gorgeous girl."

Commenters show support and love for a mother who lost her daughter to cancer | Photo: Facebook/Julie Apicella

Commenters show support and love for a mother who lost her daughter to cancer | Photo: Facebook/Julie Apicella

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THE ONLINE REACTION

Another netizen said: "Profile changed and post shared, sending you love." In a special comment, a mother added what the post meant to her.

She expressed: "This brought tears to my eyes. It's reality, and that sucks. I moan about my kids all the time, but I often think of people like you, Julie, who would do anything to have Emily here."

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