Cancer truly is an unspeakably awful disease. From the moment one learns about a diagnosis to the grueling treatments and the idea of saying goodbye to your loved ones.
As a parent, it’s especially difficult to see young children fighting against this horrible disease. Put simply, it’s enough to break even the hardest of hearts.
When I look at pictures of Delaney Krings, it’s hard to understand why a young girl and her family should be forced to go through something so horrible.
Delaney Krings of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in October 2022. Delaney was only four years old when her family got the terrible news.
According to the Facebook page For The Love of Delaney, the family’s nightmare started when Delaney sought medical attention for something as simple as an earache. Her parents, Heather and Jack, took her to her pediatrician, who diagnosed the young girl with an ear infection and thereafter treated her.
Delaney’s condition initially appeared to improve, but there remained other signs that something wasn’t alright – including a loss of balance, for example.
Her parents began to believe that their daughter was suffering from something serious, and trusted their gut feeling. They took her to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where doctors ran a series of tests to ascertain what was wrong with the 4-year-old.
Not long after that, Heather and Jack’s beautiful little girl was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor, a diffuse midline glioma is known as DMG. It was terminal.
“Your heart stops for a minute. The world stops. You can’t breathe, you just try to process it. She’s four, you know?” Heather said.
Delaney was given just six to eight weeks to live, and her story could have ended there. Instead, her health battle gained worldwide attention when her family wanted to do everything in their power to ensure she had the most special birthday possible.
”The type of cancer she has, DMG, has very little positive response to any current treatment available,” Heather wrote in a CaringBridge post.
”In addition to the severity and size of her tumor when it was first found sealed her fate just 12 short weeks ago. I have read medical textbooks, research papers, etc., etc., etc. for months and have found very little hope in any of them.”
On December 16, Delaney celebrated her 5th birthday. All those in attendance knew it was going to be her last one. Her family aimed to give her a special celebration and asked for birthday cards to be sent from all over the world.
They had no idea how many people would be touched by Delaney’s story.
“On the maps that we have up, we have stickers to put for all of the locations for where the cards have come from, so Laney can see that she’s got love from all over the world from people she doesn’t even know. And it has taken off. I believe there were 400 cards in the mail today,” Heather said in December.
“As long as she still knows what’s going on, she can laugh, she can hear, she can see, she knows us, she remembers us. That clock, you have to ignore it because what’s our purpose here? To make whatever time she has left as best as we can.”
In the end, around 15,000 birthday cards and hundreds of video tributes were sent to the sweet little girl – from loved ones, people in the community, and complete strangers all over the world. To make it extra special, the Wisconsin Truck Takeover Enthusiasts arranged a birthday parade for Delaney, gathering almost 500 vehicles and parade participants.
”I’m just happy she gets to enjoy her birthday. There’s no way to thank everybody, but, from the bottom of our hearts we appreciate everything,” Delaney’s dad, Jack Krings, told TMJ4 News in Milwaukee.
Sadly, Delaney passed away on Jan 28.
“Our Sweet Angel Baby has gained her wings. Fly high, my sweet baby,” Delaney’s mother, Heather, wrote on CaringBridge and posted a photo of her daughter with the caption: “Delaney Judith Krings. 12.16.2017 — 1.28.2023. Fly high, my sweet baby.”
In an update on the GoFundMe page created to support Delaney’s family, organizer Judy Krings wrote:
“Like a flower that we see the beauty of for only a while, we all cherished every single day of Delaney’s 1,869 days on earth”. To those, she knew, and those she never met, she made us all better people. Make her proud of you. Your heart, like ours, may be broken. But a broken heart has spaces that can now be filled with the glue of love. Enjoy the love of life in heaven Delaney.”
Delany’s mother now hopes that her daughter’s story will live on forever and that her legacy will lead ”to be a ripple of simple acts of kindness. This world needs more love in it, and I believe that is what she was put here to provide. Love, pure and simple.”
No parent wants to see their child suffer, and they’ll do everything in their power to make them feel good again.
But sometimes, no matter how much we try, hope, and pray, some things that are just out of our hands.
My heart breaks for this poor little girl and her family. Rest in peace Delaney and thank you for inspiring a whole world with your smile and fighting spirit!