Mom’s viral school photo helps raise awareness for childhood cancer

Source: WREG / Kelsey Ott

A photo going viral on Facebook shows the pain and emptiness of someone you love being there one day but gone the same time a year later.

Julie Apicella posted the photo of her daughter Emily on last year’s school photo day alongside a picture of the same background this year — but no Emily.

“Imagine if your school photo this year is the LAST you will ever be able to take and will just be a memory to remember,” she wrote.

In 2013, when she was 5 years old, Emily was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer. She died last December, according to ABC News.

Apicella hopes the photo of loss encourages others to change their profile pictures to gold, the color used for childhood cancer awareness.

The Go Gold Project offers a gold-ribbon filter for profile photos.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

This year, more than 10,000 children under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. and about 1,250 are expected to die, according to

After accidents, children ages 1 to 14 are most likely to die from cancer.

“Eventually the gold ribbon of childhood cancer will be as well known as the pink ribbon for breast cancer but it takes people to actually post on social media ect for this to happen,” Apicella wrote.


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