Girl whose wish inspired mass Christmas carol celebration dies

Girl whose wish inspired mass Christmas carol celebration dies

(NBC News)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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WEST READING, Pa. (CNN) — A little girl whose Christmas wish inspired thousands of people to sing in the streets died overnight.

Laney Brown, 8, suffered from leukemia.

"Our little angel on earth earned her pink glittery angel wings in heaven," a post on an official Facebook page about her said. "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."

Delaney Brown of West Reading, Pennsylvania, "inspired a community and touched hearts across the world," as CNN affiliate WFMZ put it.

She loved music and dancing.

Her dying wishes were to meet country music superstar Taylor Swift and for some people to come by her house for a night of caroling.

On Friday -- her birthday -- Laney and Swift video-chatted through FaceTime, a software application that allows callers to see each other on Apple products.

Then, Saturday night, the singers came. At first it was hundreds of people, then thousands. Then it was about 10,000, CNN affiliate WFMZ reported.


I can hear you now!!! Love you!

–Laney Brown via Facebook to the carolers that made her wish come true


She was too weak to go to the window, but heard the wonderful music.

"I can hear you now!!! Love you!" she said in a Facebook post that showed a photo of her lying in bed with a breathing mask -- and two thumbs up.

Laney was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia seven months ago. Last week doctors told her family that she had 70% cancer cells in her blood. She came home from the hospital Thursday.

The Christmas carol celebration outside her home attracted people from all over. Her dance team was there to honor her. Even Santa showed up.

Many of the singers held back tears.

"I can't even express how I feel," Krysta Rebe, who has a daughter Laney's age, told WFMZ.

It was only an hour of singing, but it lifted the spirits of everyone who jammed the block.

"As much as I want that miracle to be saving the life of an 8-year-old little girl, Laney, the miracle was an 8-year-old little girl teaching an entire community, town, city and the whole country the true meaning of Christmas," one participant, Marianne Franken, wrote on Facebook."

On Wednesday, thousands of people liked and commented on the Facebook post announcing the little girl's death.

"I do not cry for Laney, who lives on in peace and happiness with our Lord," wrote Cornell Stornbergh. "I mourn for us, who now have to live in a world without her."

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Josh Levs and Steve Almasy

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