Mom shares heartbreaking back-to-school photo

By Kirstin Buick
20 September 2016

The pictures were taken only a year apart.

In her cute pleated skirt, striped tie and shiny new school shoes, Emily poses beside the fireplace on her first day of school, a shy smile on her face.

But just one year later in the lounge at her family's home in Norfolk, England, nothing seems to have changed – and yet everything has.

Emily's mom, Julie Apicella, shared the heartbreaking photos side by side to raise awareness of paediatric cancer – the disease that took her beautiful daughter from her.

"School photo time – obviously someone very special missing – my daughter Emily," she captioned the post.

"Imagine if your school photo this year is the LAST you'll ever be able to take and will just be a memory to remember."

Emily passed away just months after her first day of school in December 2015, the Fenland Citizen reports. She was just eight years old.

Emily had battled a form of kidney cancer known as Wilms' tumour for three long years. But neither chemotherapy, radiation, stem-cell harvesting and transplant, clinical trials or even surgery to remove her kidney could stop the deadly illness.

In her much-shared Facebook post, Julie asked that her friends change their profile pictures to "go gold" for childhood cancer awareness.

"Raising awareness of symptoms and that childhood cancer isn't rare is the first hurdle to jump.

"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 etc for this to happen.”

Has your family been touched by cancer? Click here to share your story with us.

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