(ABC News) – The parents of a young leukemia patient who inspired a town to serenade her with Christmas carols are struggling today to cope with her Christmas Day death and her unopened holiday presents.
“She took her last breath at home in her bed at 3:10 surrounded by all her family and friends. I miss her so much already,” Laney’s parents posted on Facebook.
“This house is still full of all the medical machines and her birthday presents, her Christmas presents,” posted Laney’s father, Jeremiah Brown. “There used to be a little girl normally already sitting on our couch watching TV when I wake up early in the morning. My life will never be the same since that little angel touched it.”
Laney’s mother, Jennifer Capone-Brown, wrote that there was “emptiness in my heart.”
“Today I get asked questions about what we want for her funeral,” wrote Capon-Brown. “Who ever thinks about what they ‘want’ [their] child’s final outfit to be. … Even over the struggles of the past months not once did I think I would have to make these decisions. I had such hope that she would get a miracle.”
Laney was diagnosed in May with a rare form of leukemia, and after doctors gave her days to live, she made a last wish for her neighbors to lift their voices in holiday songs outside her window.
On Saturday night, 6,000 to 8,000 people gathered outside her home in West Reading, Pa., singing such favorites as “Frosty the Snowman” and “Jingle Bells.” Laney was too sick to come to the window, but she heard the voices and her family posted a picture on Facebook showing Laney giving two thumbs up with the text, “I can hear you now!!! Love you!”
“A lot of people don’t even know her but through social media have been able to give her this wish. Unfortunately, this could be her last Christmas and everyone wanted to make it special for her,” caroler Deb Redcay told ABC’s Philadelphia station WPVI.
Another caroler, Megan McGee, told WPVI last Saturday that she was inspired by all of the posts and updates on the Team Laney Facebook page, which also helped raise money to help defray the cost of Laney’s medical expenses.
“Just the different stories her mother has posted regularly showing her strength, her courage, her humor — this is heartbreaking,” said McGee.
In addition to the carolers, Laney had also wished to meet pop star and Pennsylvania native Taylor Swift.
Last Friday night, as her family celebrated her eighth birthday, Laney’s second-to-last wish was granted — Swift and Laney had a video chat.