You might think Emma Mertens is just like your typical 7-year old. And in a lot of ways she is, especially in her love of dogs. But Emma also has Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). This condition results in the formation of a tumor located in the middle of the brainstem. The usual result from DIPG sadly is death, as less than 10 percent of children who have the condition survive for more than 2 years after they are diagnosed.
To help keep her spirits up, her family asked people online to send her pictures of their dogs. The response was overwhelming with the family receiving over 75,000 letters and photos from across the world, including Japan, Venezuela, and Scotland, among other countries. But the biggest surprise of all was when police from around her hometown of Hartland, Wisconsin brought their K-9s by to visit.
Here is the story of a terminally ill girl and an attempt by local police to try and lift her spirits in a special way.
How It All Began
Initially, Emma suffered from a headache and flu-like symptoms. It wasn’t until she was raced to the hospital in January that swelling was discovered on her brain. She underwent surgery to reduce the swelling, and, after a second operation, began daily radiation therapy
In order to keep Emma’s spirits up and help her in her fight, her parents put out a call for photos from dog owners. And while the response was huge, it also became a little overwhelming. A call for letters and photos was soon replaced with a request for supporters to post their dog’s picture to a Facebook page set up for Emma, Team Emma – Emmalovesdogs7.
A Special Surprise
Word soon got out about Emma’s fight and soon the local police also got involved. In a special surprise for Emma, local police decided to pay the young girl a visit. Along with them, they brought their K-9 friends, about 40 in total, to give Emma a little bit of comfort.
A Joyous Occasion
Emma and her parents were overwhelmed with joy over the surprise visit. And so, on a Saturday, the police and K-9 officers lined up on the street outside Emma’s home, each of the dogs taking their turn receiving the attention of a little 7-year-old girl who loved dogs.
Emma’s parents responded on social media, “There are no words….Pure Joy! Thank you to everyone who took the time to organize and participate in this. Emma is still all smiles! Over 35 different departments and many more K9s and officers.”
A Little Gift
Each of the police officers and K-9s left a little something for Emma, a little plush K-9 doll. In this way, Emma would always have a little dog to hug, regardless of where she was. For her part, Emma wasted no time in lining them up for a picture, which her family promptly posted online.
Team Emma’s GoFundMe
To help pay the mounting medical bills, her family started a GoFundMe page, Team Emma – Fight against DIPG. So far, the site has raised over $125,000, and is earmarked to help pay for medical costs, living expenses, and the other costs often associated with the fight against and treatment of cancer.
A Courageous Little Girl
Emma is a fighter and the enormous amount of support shown her by her family, the community, and people from around the world can only help her in her struggle against DIPG. To learn more about this heartbreaking, yet sweet story, check out the video below.
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