16-year-old Emily was born with an immunodeficiency disorder that left her weak, short of breath, and easily fatigued. Wheelchair-bound and on continuous oxygen, little Emily required round-the-clock care.
Emily’s family was struggling financially with countless medical and utility bills, in addition to difficulties providing the basics, and now had a young child on hospice. Emily’s hospice social worker contacted SCHF to help offload some of the challenges from the family with financial assistance for groceries and utilities. We also discovered Emily’s great love for Disney TV shows and the actors who starred in them. Her greatest wish was to meet Debby Ryan and Bella Thorne before she died.
We reached out to the network to see if we could arrange for Emily to meet her TV friends, and both actresses quickly agreed. Bella Thorne made an in-person visit to Emily’s home, bringing along some special gifts for the young girl and spending the day taking selfies and chatting about the show.
Just two days later Debby Ryan invited Emily and her family for a behind-the-scenes tour of “The Jessie Show.” Emily and her family were transported to the studio and allowed to watch the show being filmed. The cast turned out to shower Emily with hugs and high fives, and Debby presented her with special gifts.
Just one month later, Emily passed away, having had the day of her young life.
In loving memory of Emily — May 20, 1997 – April 27, 2014.
For more details about Emily’s story, see the feature article in SCHF’s 2014 annual report.