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Mother’s devastating first day of school photo raises awareness of childhood cancer

PUBLISHED: 11:16 16 September 2016 | UPDATED: 11:16 16 September 2016

The haunting image which has gone viral of Emily Rush in January 2015 and then the same space without her  in September in 2016

The haunting image which has gone viral of Emily Rush in January 2015 and then the same space without her in September in 2016

Archant

A grieving mother’s heartbreaking back to school image of her daughter has gone viral after being posted on Facebook.

The 'fairy tree house' is dedicated to Emily Rush, who died aged eight. Picture: Archant LibraryThe 'fairy tree house' is dedicated to Emily Rush, who died aged eight. Picture: Archant Library

While parents across the country proudly posted pictures of their children as they headed off to classes for the start of the new school year Julie Apicella had an image of her own to share.

The Walsoken mother posted a picture of her daughter Emily Rush taken on her first day at a new school in January last year. Beside it is a picture taken earlier this month at the same spot but with a tragic difference – no Emily.

The eight-year-old died in December last year following a three-year fight against a rare cancer.

Her mother posted the images to help raise awareness of childhood cancers and to promote the Glow Gold September campaign.

Emily Rush with her mum Julie ApicellaEmily Rush with her mum Julie Apicella

Julie wrote under the pictures: “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.

“I have asked my friends and family to change their profile pictures to go gold and many have done this and I thank you; those who haven’t please consider changing yours, it takes seconds and you don’t have to donate any money or your spleen in doing so.

“Nearly everyone on my list has children or family members and this could be your reality in the future; 1 in 285 children will get a cancer diagnosis.”

The Glow Gold campaign aims to see iconic buildings both national and international lit up in gold lights to raise awareness of childhood cancers like that suffered by Emily.

She was diagnosed with Wilm’s tumour – a type of kidney cancer – when she was just five years old. She was one of 70 children in the UK to develop the condition that year.

Three years later she had died.

Show support for Julie Apicella and the Glow September campaign by adding a gold ribbon to your Facebook profile. Visit http://twibbon.com/support/go-gold-project/facebook

To find out more about the Glow Gold campaign and the group, who are all oncology parents, and who have organised top landmarks and buildings around the UK to glow gold in support of childhood cancer, visit https://m.facebook.com/GlowGoldSeptember/


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