Emily Beazley ‘inspired the world’

SHARE Emily Beazley ‘inspired the world’

Nadia and Ed Beasley with daughters Olivia and Emily (center). | Family photo

Emily Beazley wanted to be a pediatric oncology nurse when she grew up so she could take care of kids with cancer and let them pull on her hair — to reassure them theirs would grow back.

But after 49 months of chemotherapy, radiation and a stem-cell transplant, the 12-year-old’s struggle with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma ended Monday at her Mount Greenwood home.

“Yesterday, May 18th at 11:02 pm my beautiful Emily got to use her angel wings,” her mother, Nadia, said in an online posting. “She fought hard to the end. Her last gift to me was passing peacefully.”


Emily Beazley and her father, Ed. | Family photo

Her final days were hard but had moments of happiness, Nadia Beazley posted previously. “We’ve been busy making memories as of late. We are trying to do anything/everything that Emily wants to do. It’s so unfair that we have to try to squeeze all these life experiences into a few weeks. She has been so happy making memories . . .”The girl’s illness galvanized her close-knit neighborhood. Thanks to social media, support spread throughout Chicago and around the globe. “She didn’t just inspire a neighborhood or the city,” said Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th). “She inspired the world.”

After word of Emily’s illness reached her favorite singer, Taylor Swift phoned Emily last month.

“Emily thanked her for her music and told her what her music meant to her,” her mother told WMAQ-Channel 5, saying, “ ‘Thank you so much for your music. I dance to it — it has gotten me through these last four years.’ ” At a Tokyo concert, Swift supplied fans with light-up wristbands that flashed green and purple, according to the “Light it Up for Emily” Facebook page. Green ribbons promote lymphoma awareness, and purple was Emily’s favorite color.

Even before the star’s call, Emily was expressing gratitude. “It’s just amazing how people support me,” she told Channel 5’s Anthony Ponce. Asked why she liked Swift, she said if she started telling him all the reasons, “We would be here all day.”

She rode the Zamboni at a Blackhawks game and was named an honorary junior Chicago Police officer. Emily’s father, Area South Detective Edward Beazley, “is an extremely kind man, very highly regarded in the Chicago Police Department,” O’Shea said. “Just a wonderful family.”

Emily forged a friendship with White Sox manager Robin Ventura. She threw out a ceremonial first pitch to Ventura on May 10 at U.S. Cellular Field. Her little sister, Olivia — the donor for her transplant — accompanied her.

Yesterday, May 18th at 11:02 pm my beautiful Emily got to use her angel wings. She fought hard to the end. Her last gift to me was passing peacefully.

In 2011, she was joined by Ventura for a cameo appearance at the Goodman Theater via the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “It’s sad. It breaks your heart,’’ Ventura said before the Sox played the Cleveland Indians Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field. “For me being a parent

. . . with her passing she was a tough kid going through something unimaginable. Her attitude, being upbeat the way she was through it all, you learn things. You get a perspective on what is important. Her and the family and everything the community did for her was incredible. She jammed a lot in 12 years, especially the last three to four. Your heart breaks. It’s incredibly sad.’’

Her spirit inspired neighbors. They decorated their homes with ribbons and lights in green and purple. Friends sported manicures, shoelaces and socks in those colors. The Dunkin’ Donuts at 3206 W. 111th Street sold “Emily’s Delight” doughnuts with green-and-purple icing.

Last month, the Chicago skyline lit up in her hues. Businesses displayed signs saying, “Light it Up for Emily.” Boston’s skyscrapers also were illuminated in purple and green, O’Shea said. A section of street near her home at 107th and Homan was renamed “Emily Beazley Avenue” for the “Hero on Homan.”

She loved her family and her pet chihuahua, Carly. She enjoyed Xbox and Wii games, especially Super Mario Brothers, and playing piano, ukulele and guitar. Her favorite Swift song was “Shake it Off.”

Emily attended Mount Greenwood Elementary School. “I think the good that’s coming out of this is an awareness of children who are impacted by cancer. It shouldn’t happen to children, but it does,” said principal Catherine Reidy. “Hopefully this allows the research that’s necessary to find a cure for all the children that this might happen to.”

“This little angel inspired and touched so many lives,” O’Shea said. “Hopefully, this can develop into a stronger effort to raise more dollars to fight for a cure.”

Her immediate services will be private, for family, close friends, and her doctors and nurses, Nadia Beazley said. A public memorial may come later.

“Two years ago, Emily drew up plans to start her own foundation, she named it and everything,” her mother said in a May 13 post. “Ed and I are going to honor her wishes in the months to come. We need a cure, not just for Emily but for ALL children!!!!”

Contributing: Daryl Van Schouwen

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