Birthdays, at least for kids, are meant to be grand celebrations. A time to spend with loved ones being celebrated for their existence in the world. However, there are times when birthdays are ruined, and things seem hopeless. Amber Sheehy’s ninth birthday was a hardship undergone by her family, who chose to celebrate, nonetheless. The young girl passed away from childhood cancer an hour before her birthday, and as a tribute, the family still partook in sharing a beautiful custom cake made just for her.
Childhood Cancer Rears its Ugly Head
In April of 2019, Amber’s family knew something wasn’t right, when their sweet little girl had been getting headaches and throwing up most mornings. They took her to the hospital to be seen and when childhood cancer seemed the cause, they were stunned and heartbroken.
Nevertheless, with a brave smile almost always, Amber underwent treatment. By 2021, she was dubbed cancer free, and was able to resume a fulfilled life. Tragically, in April of 2022, the childhood cancer returned, and she passed away at 11 pm, the night before her birthday. Amber was in the Nook Hospice and had been for several months leading up to her death. The hospice center is run by East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices at Framingham Earl, about 20 minutes away from the family’s hometown.
Going in Peace
According to her parents the childhood cancer warrior, “had no pain or discomfort, and this was all we could have hoped for. Amber passed away with dignity after fighting a battle she couldn’t win.”
Her family shared a picture of the beautiful, Barbie cake they’d had custom made and explained that they still chose to celebrate. Her father said on a social media post, “We decided to celebrate Amber’s birthday with grandparents just as we would have done. We opened her cards and chatted and remembered Amber as she was along with some nice food.”
Support from Local Superstars
The family received a lot of love and support from community members, including the city’s football (soccer) team. Last year she was awarded the club’s fan of the year award. Mr. Sheehy continued, “We watched some videos sent from the Norwich FC players last night wishing her a happy birthday. We simply cannot even begin to explain just how loved we feel today, and the love shown for our little lady. The comments, flowers and cards are simply beautiful, and our garden looks beautiful as we just went to look and read some of the notes and cards left.”
Her presence touched many in her community and the childhood cancer warrior positively impacted those around her. Norwich City tweeted a birthday tribute for their special fan, in which they expressed deep sympathy for the family’s loss. Goalkeeper Tim Krul posted pictures of himself with Amber, on Twitter, and captioned the post, “Rest in peace little superstar”.
Childhood Cancer Changed Their Course
The family has a Facebook page, called Amber’s Army. The page has been up since 2019, and the is categorized as a charity page. According to their page, it’s “a family run charity that provides support and creates experiences for families.”
It’s heart wrenching how childhood cancer impacts life. Some adults who face cancer and treatment spend months feeling completely drained. They are sick, weak, and rapidly lose weight. In fact, cancer attacks the body and oftentimes treatment feels even worse. So, when children experience these hardships, and with a smile on their faces, they are rightly so, an inspiration. The impact is devastating, but they are often positive fighting spirits who remind people that it’s ok be scared, so long as you’re willing to fight until the end.
- ” ‘most courageous’ girl dies an hour before ninth birthday.” ITV News. January 16, 2023.