Two weeks ago, the day before Thanksgiving, Jillian Mbadey walked with bright eyes and marveled at a Target store outside of Quakertown, where a high school group greeted her with a wave of songs and dozens of people : family, friends, curious buyers, applauded and cheered.
It looked good. The hair that I had lost from cancer treatment last year had grown back a long time ago. He had the color in his cheeks and a smile on his face, and he wandered the halls of toys to help choose gifts for children undergoing cancer treatment in four hospitals.
The event was part of the second year of the successful Sbady Mbadey Toy Drive, named after the 5-year-old Coopersburg girl who directed all her energy to make other people happy.
On Monday night, around 8 pm, Jillian died. Her family was with her and posted the news on a Facebook page called "Jillian Paige – You have this girl", where admirers far beyond Jillian's immediate circle followed her life.
"Jillian closed her eyes around 8 pm tonight and opened her wings to fly home to her tribe of angels today," the message says. "It was peaceful and perfect in many ways … She did not lose this battle because she never knew she was fighting, rather she won, she won the right to be 5 years old and show the world how to live and not worry about fighting a monster that I did not know that he existed or that he ever had the chance to win, there is no fight in the unknown. "
In a previous publication, Jillian's parents, Janelle and Jim, said that her daughter's health had begun to diminish rapidly a few days after the November 22 event at Richland Township Target. She began to lose balance and movement in her arms and legs.
Jillian, who started kindergarten at Southern Lehigh Elementary School this year, had not been in treatment for some time. When the Mbadeys discovered that their cancer had spread beyond their brain, and that the treatment would not require much more time, they decided to put her on palliative treatment, controlling the symptoms and allowing her to live life as fully as possible in the time it took. it was
Sbady Mbadey started last year when the employees of Ryan Homes in West Chester, where Janelle works, were looking for an idea for their annual charity campaign.
Jillian had been receiving her cancer treatments at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia since that summer. So Janelle's colleague, Dan Emmerson, suggested honoring Jillian in whatever the company decided to do.
Sbady Mbadey was born. The goal was to collect around 50 toys for CHOP's pediatric oncology unit, but by mid-December, donations had exceeded 3,000 toys. Shortly before Christmas, a police escort led Jillian and the campaign organizers to deliver the toys to CHOP.
This year, Devon Hagy, a gym teacher at Southern Lehigh Middle School, who teaches one of Jillian's two brothers, decided to help. He asked the students to collect as much money as possible for Sbady Mbadey, hoping to raise around $ 8,000.
The students almost doubled that amount. Hagy selected the 15 best fundraisers to lead the shopping spree, selecting $ 15,000 in toys destined for four hospitals.
Hagy said she was numbed by the news of Jillian's death.
"I really think we've all been touched by an angel," she said. "She has left a mark in the community, in our area, in the state, possibly even at the national level, she will always be remembered and I believe that we will always fulfill her mission and we will continue to bless the children, spreading their love."
This year's toys will be delivered to CHOP, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Doylestown Hospital and DuPont. Children's Hospital in Delaware.
The writer Stephanie Sigafoos contributed to this story