‘She fought so hard’: Wisconsin girl who got thousands of letters has died, family says
HARTLAND, Wis. — A Wisconsin girl who received thousands of letters with pictures of dogs, meant to cheer her up as she battled a terminal brain tumor, died Sunday, according to a Facebook post from her family.
“Emma Claere Mertens passed away in her mom and my arms at 3:52pm today,” the family posted on Facebook. “She fought so hard but it was time to go home and leave the pain behind. In her final hours, we told her how many people love her and that it was ok to go. We will miss her dearly.”
In late January, 7-year-old Emma was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare and inoperable brain tumor. To help put a smile on her face during her radiation treatments, family and friends started sending letters with pictures of dogs.
When the word about Emma got out, she started getting thousands of emails with dog photos each hour, along with a truckload of mail each day.
The family said they will stream her funeral service live but are still making plans, and requested donations be sent to her foundation Emma Loves Dogs.