The loss of a child is a heartache that a mother will feel for the rest of her life.
When Julia Apicella took this picture of her sweet girl dressed for her first day of school, she could not have known that just one year later, the same spot by the fireplace would be sadly vacant.
Her beautiful daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with Wilms tumor, a form of kidney cancer. On December 14, 2015, she died at the age of 8. For three difficult years, the little girl battled cancer with treatments involving chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell harvesting and transplant, clinical trials and finally surgery to remove her kidney.
Just nine months after her daughter's death, the UK mom is urging her friends and family to spread awareness by adding gold ribbons to their Facebook profile pictures.
"Obviously someone very special missing," she writes, "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's post has been shared over 9,000 times on Facebook and the word is spreading.
"Raising awareness of symptoms and that childhood cancer is not rare is the first hurdle to jump," she wrote. "Eventually the gold ribbon of childhood cancer will be as well known as the pink ribbon for breast cancer but it takes people to actually post on social media etc. for this to happen."
To join the campaign takes only a second - just follow the link to add your own gold ribbon to your profile picture, it costs nothing: http://twibbon.com/support/go-gold-project/facebook
If you or someone you love has a child fighting cancer in the UK, Apicella references this Facebook group of oncology parents who have organised top landmarks and buildings around the UK to glow gold in support of childhood cancer. https://m.facebook.com/GlowGoldSeptember/
Families affected by childhood cancer in America can visit https://www.facebook.com/americanchildhoodcancer/ to learn more about the #GoldRibbonHeroes campaign.