Cancer is an abominably heinous disease. The moment a diagnosis is made, the complex treatments, and the thought of having to say goodbye to loved ones.
Being a parent makes it even more challenging to witness small children suffering from this terrible illness. Simply put, it’s enough to break even the strongest of hearts.
When I see photos of Delaney Krings, it’s difficult for me to understand why a young child and her family should go through such a traumatic experience.
Delaney Krings of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in October 2022. Delaney was only four years old when her family received the devastating news.
According to the Facebook page For The Love of Delaney, the family’s tragedy began when Delaney went to the doctor for relatively minor ear pain. Her parents, Heather and Jack, took her to the doctor, who diagnosed the young girl with an ear infection and prescribed appropriate treatment.
Although Delaney’s condition appeared to be improving at first, there were signs that something wasn’t right, such as a loss of balance.
Her parents began to have serious concerns about their daughter’s health and began to trust their instincts. They took her to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where specialists ran tests to determine what was wrong with the 4-year-old.
Not long after that, Heather and Jack’s beautiful daughter was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor called DMG (diffuse midline glioma). It was fatal.
“For a minute, your heart stops. The world comes to a halt. You can’t breathe, so you try to process everything. Did you know she’s four?” Heather explained.
Delaney’s life expectancy was only six to eight weeks, and her journey could have ended there. Instead, her family’s desire to ensure she had the best birthday possible turned her health battle into a worldwide sensation.
“The type of cancer she has, DMG, responds very little to any current treatment available,” Heather wrote on CaringBridge.
“In addition, the severity and size of her tumor when it was discovered sealed her fate 12 weeks ago. I’ve spent months reading medical textbooks, research papers, etc., etc., and have found very little hope in any of them.”
Delaney celebrated her fifth birthday on December 16. Everyone in attendance knew it would be her last. Her family wanted to provide her with a one-of-a-kind birthday celebration, so they requested greeting cards from all over the world.
They were unaware of the public’s reaction to Delaney’s story.
“On the maps that we have up, we have stickers to put for all of the locations 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’s taking off. I believe 400 cards were mailed 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. You must ignore the clock because what is our purpose here? To make the most of whatever time she has left.”
In the end, the sweet little girl received nearly 15,000 birthday cards and hundreds of video tributes from family, friends, and strangers worldwide. The Wisconsin Truck Takeover Enthusiasts organized a special birthday procession for Delaney, attracting up to 500 trucks and parade participants.
“I’m just glad she gets to celebrate her birthday. There’s no way to thank everyone, but we appreciate everything from the bottom of our hearts,” Delaney’s father, Jack Krings, told TMJ4 News in Milwaukee.
Delaney died on January 28th, sadly.
“Our Sweet Angel Baby has grown wings. Fly high, my sweet baby,” Delaney’s mother, Heather, wrote on CaringBridge, captioning a photo of her daughter: “Delaney Judith Krings. 12.16.2017 — 1.28.2023. Fly high, my darling.”
Organizer Judy Krings wrote on the GoFundMe page set up to help Delaney’s family:
“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. She made us all better people, both those she knew and never met. Make your mother proud. Like ours, your heart may be broken. A broken heart, on the other hand, has spaces that can now be filled with the glue of love. Delaney, have fun with the love of your life in heaven.”
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, and I believe she was sent here to provide it. Pure and simple love.”
No parent wants to see their child suffer, and they will go to any length to make them happy again.
However, despite our best efforts, hopes, and prayers, some things are beyond our control.
My heart breaks for this poor little girl and her family. May you rest in peace, Delaney, and may you be grateful for the way your smile and bravery touched the world.