This adorable little girl is Emily Kostik, a soon-to-be 1st grader from Prior Lake, Minnesota who goes to my old elementary/middle school. She is currently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Here’s her story (quoted from her webpage):

“Hi! My name is Emily Kostik. I’m Almost 6-years-old, and everybody tells me I have a beautiful smile.

Just like a lot of other Almost 6-year-old girls, I like Disney princesses and dancing. My favorite color is purple, and Colbie Cailat’s Brighter Than The Sun is my absolute favorite song! Last summer I joined a cheerleading team, and that is really fun! We even got to cheer with the high school girls at a Prior Lake High School football game – Go Lakers! I was really excited when I was able to start Kindergarten last September. I love my teachers and all my friends in my kindergarten class.

But something happened in the middle of March that’s changed almost everything for me. One day when I was in a school program my Grandma noticed my smile wasn’t working right – one side of my face was paralyzed. We went to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis where we found out that I have a large, cancerous tumor in my brain. The doctors tell us that the tumor is located on my thalamus, a place where they aren’t able to remove it. So now we are all hoping my radiation treatments and chemotherapy will help shrink my tumor. Oh, one thing hasn’t changed – I still smile all the time!

So now we are all hoping my radiation treatments and chemotherapy shrink my tumor. Every night before I go to bed I take a bunch of pills with some special medicine. For six weeks my Mom drove me every day, Monday through Friday, from our home in Prior Lake to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis where I had my radiation treatments. The people at radiation took really good care of me, so I brought them a new joke every day to let them know I appreciate their help. Lots of times family and friends would come along and read to me while I was lying on the radiation table - that helped the time pass, and I got to hear some fun stories. I finished radiation a few weeks ago and when they did another MRI, they said the tumor shrunk to about half its original size - good news. Now they are adding a new drug to my chemo therapy.

My family and I do need your support. Our insurance is covering most of my medical bills for now. But there are a lot of other things. For example, my Mom used to work to help us pay for things like our house, our food and our clothes. Now, her full-time job is taking care of me – I have a lot of appointments. Mom drives me from our home near Prior Lake to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis every day for my radiation treatments – 27 miles each way! That’s over $50 a week just for gas. In addition to that I go to physical therapy and occupational therapy.

I hope you will join with all my friends in Emily’s Cheer Team and help support my family and me!”

Near the end of the school year, my homeroom teacher though it would be a great idea to bring in Emily’s classmates into our room to make cards for her and stuff. At one point, my teacher asked the little kids if there was anything they wanted to share about Emily, and this adorable little boy stood up and said,

“Emily is my best friend in the whole world and I just want her to come back soon. I miss her so much and I want her to get better.”

It was the most precious thing I have ever heard.

You can donate to Emily’s cause online at http://www.emilykostik.com/ 

Even if you can’t help by donating, please just keep her in your thoughts. Thank you.