Shelli and Gary Wilmarth were shocked Sept. 19, 2010 when they learned of their 14 year old daughter, Kailey’s, illness.
“We just thought she had mono, and she wasn’t getting any better,” Shelli said. “She was always an extremely healthy kid — she had perfect (school) attendance.” Youngest of three, Kailey was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). It is a cancer of the white blood cells, cells which normally fight infection within the body.In ALL, white blood cells that are infected continuously replicate, replacing healthy, normal cells in the bone marrow. The cancer is the most common among children, representing one-fifth of all the cancers diagnosed in children under the age of 15, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Kailey had always been a great long distance runner and was active in a number of sports programs at school. Throughout her illness, classmates, students and others from throughout the area organized fundraisers and other events to show their support to Kailey and her family.
Kailey’s journey ended after a brave nine-month battle. Perhaps the end of her story is best told by her brother, Brian.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 11:16 a.m.
Glory to God! There was a miracle today, although not quite what we hoped and prayed for. At 10:15 a.m. today, Kailey went to be with the Lord. She died surrounded by her family and knowing that she is greatly loved by us and many others. She also knew that God loved her infinitely more than we ever could. At an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) camp, she professed repentance and faith in Christ with mom present. By the blood of Christ shed on the cross and in the power of his resurrection, she has been reconciled to God and her sin has been wiped away. She is wrapped up in the Lord’s embrace.
Therefore, we have received a miracle today: she is with the LORD! While this is not what we wanted, we know that she has the peace of God in his presence from now until everlasting. We are so sad to have lost her and we lament that she is not physically being a light to those around her any more. Her impact is still being felt and will be felt for a long time. Please turn your prayers to us for the Lord’s strength to get us through this time. We grieve deeply, but we grieve with the hope of the resurrection. We think of the story of Lazarus, where Jesus says “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” He says that Lazarus’ story will not end in death, and Jesus raises him. Kailey’s story will not end in death; she will be raised up with a new body when Jesus comes back. (John 11)
We thank you for your prayers and your support. You all have been wonderful. We thank God for all of you.
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According to msnbc.com, an estimated 145,000 people are diagnosed each year with some form of cancer in the United States, reaching up to 25 million people globally. Of those diagnosed, the American Cancer Society estimates a total of 1,500 deaths per day within the United States.