Mother posts viral photo of her daughter to raise awareness of pediatric cancer

ABC News - Julie Apicella
ABC News - Julie Apicella

NORFOLK, England (ABC News) — One British mother’s back-to-school photos of her daughter may raise a question: Why is the girl not featured in the photo for this year?

Julie Apicella posted a 2015 picture of her daughter Emily sporting her blue, grey and black school uniform. But the photo from this year is marked by the absence of Emily, who passed away last December.

In a post on Facebook that’s now gone viral, Apicella, 41, captioned the photos in part: “School photo time – obviously someone very special missing – my daughter Emily. 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.”

Apicella told ABC News that Emily passed away after being diagnosed in 2013 when she was only 5-years-old with a rare kidney cancer called Wilms’ tumor.

After relapsing in February 2014, Emily eventually succumbed to the disease on Dec. 14, 2015.

Apicella, a mother of six, said of her back-to-school photo of Emily: “For a bereaved mother, that is what I have left.”

She said she posted the photo collage for a specific reason.

“I created the post as a way to raise awareness. September is Childhood Cancer [Awareness] Month and [I’m asking] people to show their support by putting a ‘Go Gold Ribbon’ on their Facebook profile picture,” the Norfolk, England, woman said.

Apicella also hopes that research into pediatric cancer can be properly funded to increase early detection of symptoms and eventually to find a cure.

“I think our children are worth more, as do thousands of parents across the country,” the mother added.

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