When schools in the West re-open in September, proud parents around the world click ‘back-to-school’ pictures of their children to commemorate their first day of getting back to the grind after their holidays. Caught in the tradition, a mother in England, too, took a similar photo, only that it shattered the Internet.
Julia Apicella of Walsoken shared a picture of a back-to-school photo of her daughter Emily clicked in the fall of 2015, and another clicked in September 2016, except that in the latter, her daughter is absent. She died battling kidney cancer in December 2015. The photo, posted on Facebook, shows the exact spot where she stood last year – with the space empty.
Emily was battling Wilms’ Tumor — a malignant tumor of the kidney, predominantly seen in children for three years — until December 5, 2015 when she passed away. But the brave little soul posed cheerfully, smiling widely in what seems like her school uniform for the picture.
Apicella, took to Facebook to post the photo, to raise awareness about the symptoms and conditions, because “one in 285 children will get cancer diagnoses”.
Here’s the full text of her heart-wrenching Facebook post.
“School photo time – obviously someone very special missing – my daughter Emily. Imagine if your school photo this year is the LAST you will ever be able to take and will just be a memory to remember. I have asked my friends and family to change their profile pics to go gold and many have done this and I thank you, those who haven’t, please consider changing yours , it takes seconds and you don’t have to donate any money or your spleen in doing so. Nearly everyone on my list has children or family members and this could be your reality in the future 1 in 285 children will get A cancer diagnoses. Raising awareness of symptoms and that childhood cancer is not rare is the first hurdle to jump. Eventually, the gold ribbon of childhood cancer will be as well known as the pink ribbon for breast cancer but it takes people to actually post on social media ect for this to happen. And if you think please just give it a rest about cancer the delete friend button is near my name please press.”
This is Apicella’s Facebook post.