Thanks to the internet, it’s now possible to unite the entire world in a common mission, pooling all of our positive thoughts to wrap someone in a virtual hug even from the other side of the globe.
The Mertens family of Hartland, Wisconsin are feeling that love right now thanks to some very special dog owners. It all started when a little girl named Emma Mertens was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable tumor on her brain stem called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).
Emma is only seven years old yet is already facing a terminal diagnosis. Her devastated family is doing whatever they can to keep her spirits up as they battle the disease with chemotherapy and radiation, but watching their little girl suffer has taken a toll on them all. Emma’s mother Tammy Merten was forced to take unpaid leave from her teaching job so that she could care for her daughter.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family with their medical costs, but during the course of the fundraising a family friend made an ingenious suggestion that changed the whole family’s perspective. Emma adores dogs of all sizes, shapes, and colors, but since several family members are allergic she can’t have one of her own. When a friend sent a letter to Emma written from her dog’s perspective Emma’s face lit up with joy. Her family noticed that their little girl was smiling for the first time in days, so they requested more letters from people’s dogs to cheer Emma up.
That simple request turned into a flurry of new letters. The GoFundMe page soon went viral and people from countries far and wide began leaving supportive messages of love “from” their dogs. Once this chain reaction began, there was no stopping it! Soon people were sending gifts and packages to Emma’s house, prompting her parents to start a dedicated Facebook page to gather all of the doggies’ messages in one place.
People are so generous, but gifts are not necessary. Thank you all for the kindness and love for Emma. We hope that…
To date Emma has received over 80,000 letters from every state in the United States and at least 50 different countries! Emma’s father Geoffrey Mertens says they can’t believe how kind these strangers have been, and watching their initial request snowball into tens of thousands of love notes has been an incredible sight to behold.
“Those friends shared it with their friends and so on and so on and it just literally went viral to where it’s been shared, I can’t even imagine how many times it’s been shared,” Geoffrey said. All of the pictures and letters Emma has received have been filled with joyful messages of love, support, and encouragement — not to mention tons of very cute dogs.
“Hi Warrior Emma!! My name is Pee-Wee and I’m a Ninja Warrior!! I was born without front legs, but that doesn’t stop me from living life to the fullest, My motto is: ‘Never let adversity get in the way of your own happiness.’ I know that you are a beautiful brave Warrior and you will beat this adversity!! Stay strong!! I am sending love and prayers to you!! I love you!!”
“Hi Emma I’m Beau! I’m a 4 month old Australian Shepard. I love to play with my kitty sisters and fetch anything someone throws.”
“Hi Emma! My name is Bruschi. I live in little Rhode Island, and my favorite thing to do is play in the snow. Hope my picture makes you smile!”
“Hi Emma. I am Lola from Rome, Italy. I am a 2 years old Maltese. I love running in the park with other puppies like me, playing with my toys and taking long naps. Mum told me you are a very brave girl and you love dogs. We keep praying for you and your family.”
We can certainly see why these sweet notes and photos would cheer up a kind child like Emma. We absolutely love the fact that this child has united so many loving hearts across the globe. Thank you to all who have sent Emma a note!
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