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Mom’s Heartbreaking Photo of Daughter Goes Viral, Spreads Awareness Of Childhood Cancer

( [email protected] ) Sep 19, 2016 09:35 AM EDT
A mother's post on social media becomes viral and spreads more awareness about childhood cancer. Julie Apicella, whose daughter had cancer, posted a photo on Facebook that not only touched many hearts online but also helped increase awareness about childhood cancer.
Emily Apicella poses for a photo in her school uniform. (Facebook/Julie Apicella) Facebook/Julie Apicella

Julie Apicella, whose daughter had cancer, posted a photo on Facebook that not only touched many hearts online but also helped increase awareness about childhood cancer.

The left side of the photo showed her daughter Emily wearing her uniform and smiling at the camera for her 2015 back-to-school pose. The right side of the photo showed the same location where the first was taken, but Emily wasn't there. It was taken in 2016.

"School photo time - obviously someone very special missing - my daughter Emily," Julie's Facebook post read. "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."

Writing on the comment thread, Julie explained that her daughter's picture was taken on January 2015 when Emily just started attending her new school after they moved. By September of the same year, "she was too ill to go to school."

Emily battled kidney cancer and passed away in December 2015, according to Fox 25.

Her mom posted the pictures to let more people know about cancer of children. She encouraged social media users to put a gold ribbon on their profile pictures to raise more awareness about the disease.

Julie said childhood cancer is not as rare as people think, and 1 in 285 kids will receive a cancer diagnosis. Being aware of the facts is the first step, she emphasized.

"Raising awareness of symptoms and that childhood cancer is not rare is the first hurdle to jump," she wrote.

Through her Facebook post, Julie hopes that more people will know about childhood cancer and "eventually the gold ribbon of childhood cancer will be as well known as the pink ribbon for breast cancer."

The photo has been shared more than 10,000 times so far.

Replying to a comment on her post, Julie admitted she was not strong enough to deal with what happened. She wrote that what happened to Emily was a "situation in which you have no control over," and all she could do was "deal with the cards."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35,000 men and 21,000 women are diagnosed with kidney and renal pelvis cancer every year. Of these, about 9,000 cases in men and 5,000 cases in women end up in death.

Symptoms of the disease include blood in the urine, a lump near the kidney area, lower back pain, feeling of being tired, recurring fever, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss, the CDC said. Maintaining a healthy weight, doing regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can help prevent this type of cancer. 

Tags : childhood cancer, kidney cancer, kidney cancer in children, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, Julie Apicella, Emily Apicella, childhood cancer stats, CDC, cancer in children