Heartbreaking news has rocked the THON community over the recent week: Seven-year-old Delaney “Laney” Brown, a Penn State Berks’ THON child, only has a few weeks to a few days to live. But through a robust Facebook page maintained by her family, the overwhelming support of the community — both THON and beyond — and a fighting spirit, Brown is making the most out of these trying days.
Brown was diagnosed in May with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with monosomy 7 — a rare form of cancer that only about 10 children are diagnosed with a year. According to her mother’s posts on Team Laney’s Facebook page, “Laney has 70% cancer cells in her blood. If they would treat the cancer, the virus that she has would kill her. And if they treat the virus, the cancer will kill her.”
Brown is home on a hospice care program, and her family is slowly crossing off as many items as possible from her bucket list. Thanks to the Hershey Medical Center and Zoo America, Brown was able to pet a live alligator.
#TeamLaney picked up steam last week when the Twitter account @TaylorMeetLaney went viral in an effort for Brown to cross off the most desired item on her bucket list –a meeting with Taylor Swift. The Make a Wish Foundation caught wind of it, and although the logistics of a meeting were impossible, Brown was able to FaceTime with Swift on her birthday last Friday.
— Make-A-Wish America (@MakeAWish) December 18, 2013
last night, Laney facetimed Taylor!!!!
— Taylor Meet Laney (@TaylorMeetLaney) December 21, 2013
On Saturday night, more than 5,000 supporters gathered in West Reading, Pa. to sing Christmas carols — another one of Brown’s final wishes. The turnout was so great that police had to shutdown multiple streets.
The THON community has also been pitching in — offering emotional support, as well as a yet-to-be-released video to pick up her spirits. Similar to the viral Zach Sobiech video, a plethora of celebrities are said to have contributed.
Thousands of #TeamLaney Tweets have been sent over recent days, and the official Facebook page has garnered more than 50,000 likes. Brown will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers as she fights for her life and we continue to fight for a cure.
(Update: December 25)
Our deepest condolences go to the family and friends of Laney Brown, who passed away this morning. Rest in peace, little one.