Legacy of Emily Beazley lives on through her parents
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Emily Beazley was an accomplished artist, dancer and singer. She was also the creator of a foundation to help others, and an inspiration that grabbed the attention of world leaders like President Obama and A-list entertainers like Taylor Swift.
Emily accomplished a lot in just 12 short years of life. She passed on May 18th of this year, but the little girl from the South Side of Chicago is still a fighting force against childhood cancer.
"Emily was just an amazing girl. Every time I say her name I can't help but smile," said Emily's mom Nadia.
"She is my hero. Most people don't get to meet theirs, mine called me Dad," said Emily's dad Ed.
"Up until the end, she still had so much hope. A love for life. All she wanted to do was grow up," Nadia said.
But in many ways, 12 year-old Emily was more of a grownup than most adults.
"She was wise beyond her years," Ed said.
During the ups and downs of her battle with cancer, her parents Ed and Nadia often found themselves relying on Emily for strength and comfort.
"She put her hand on my face and said Mom don't worry about it I'm going to be OK, I'm going to be just fine," said Nadia.
When Emily was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in 2011, Ed and Nadia would quickly learn that Emily's options for treatment were limited at best.
"Having to sit there and hear the doctor say there is nothing more we can do for her. No, New York, Pennsylvania, St. Jude…having to sit there, how could I be OK with that," Nadia said.
The reason for so little hope, children with cancer have high survival rates. A higher survival rate, and fewer patients, equals fewer dollars for research.
"They can't even store tissue samples of the biopsies to do the research because there is no funding," Ed said.
That's not fair, these kids deserve a lot better. Childhood cancer is so underfunded," Nadia said. "I decided to start talking about it. I posted the pics of her smiling, but also when she was sick. People need to know it's both."
The more Emily and her parents talked, the more people listened on social media. Her story eventually spread world-wide, and she received letters from President Obama, professional athletes, and a personal phone call from her favorite entertainer Taylor Swift.
"Here she is calling this 12 years old girl from the South Side of Chicago, who was so excited about it," Nadia said.
Excited, but not satisfied.
Emily wanted make sure other kids would not have to suffer like she suffered. So at age 10, she started her own foundation - Kures for Kids.
Emily even drew herself and her dog into the logo.
"That's her and our dog," Nadia said.
Kures for Kids donates 100 percent to cancer research. It's also teamed with one of Emily's oncologists to choose the childhood cancer research most in need of funding.
Nadia and Ed couldn't save Emily, but they will honor her wish and carry on her legacy, one trial and one child at a time.
"If we could fund one trial that could save one child, that's a great start," Ed said.
And Kures for Kids is starting something very special this Sunday. It's called Emily Beazley's Kures for Kids Family Fair from 11 to 6 at the Chicago School for Agricultural Sciences.
Food, local vendors, kid's games, music and more will be available and it's a great way to support Emily's foundation.
In addition to running her foundation, Emily wanted to be a pediatric oncology nurse.
Emily would have turned 13 last Friday.