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Emily Beazley Dies After 4-Year Battle With Cancer

By Howard Ludwig | May 19, 2015 5:51am | Updated on May 19, 2015 7:08am
 Emily Beazley, 12, of Mount Greenwood died at 11:02 p.m. on Monday, according to a Facebook post by her mother.
Emily Beazley, 12, of Mount Greenwood died at 11:02 p.m. on Monday, according to a Facebook post by her mother.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

MOUNT GREENWOOD — Emily Beazley died at 11:02 p.m. on Monday, ending her four-year battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

"My beautiful Emily got to use her angel wings. She fought hard to the end. Her last gift to me was passing peacefully," her mother Nadia Beazley posted on Facebook.

The family is asking for privacy as services are pending. A public memorial is being planned for a later date, according to the post early Tuesday morning.

The 12-year-old girl from Mount Greenwood united her neighborhood and beyond as she bravely fought the blood cancer that eventually took her life.

Howard Ludwig discusses Emily's courage through her battle:

Emily was diagnosed with stage III T-cell lymphoblastic non-Hodgkin lymphoma on April 7, 2011.

As news of her worsening condition spread, neighbors tied ribbons of green and purple around trees and street poles. The colors associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma quickly became synonymous with the young girl's fight.

The ribbons evolved into the Light It Up for Emily social media campaign. Businesses and homeowners quickly got on board using green and purple lights to illuminate front porches, trees and marquees throughout the 19th Ward.

Eventually, the Chicago skyline itself began to reflect the outpouring of support. Iconic buildings such as Soldier Field, the Willis Tower and others were illuminated in "Emily's colors."

Friends, family and others were given a steady stream of updates on Emily's condition courtesy of Facebook posts from her mother.

The posts from Emily's mother were equally heartbreaking and inspiring, as the little girl with the gap-toothed smile refused to give up while staring down the aggressive disease.

Late last month, Nadia Beazley's update revealed that oncologists had called off chemotherapy, as it was no longer working. Emily was placed on hospice care. All treatment options had been exhausted.

Still, she refused to give up. Her resolve fueled Emily's parents and others to fill her final days with good memories.

First, Emily's block at 108th Street and Homan Avenue was renamed Honorary Emily Beazley Avenue on April 24. Hundreds cheered as Emily and her father Ed climbed a ladder and unveiled the street sign.

Emily's life in the fast lane continued on April 28 when she and her sister, Olivia, were named honorary junior police officers. The Beazleys arrived at Chicago Police Department headquarters with an escort of sirens and flashing blue lights.

The honor was a nod to Emily's father and grandfather, both of whom worked for the Police Department. Ed, a 19-year veteran of the department, looked down with pride as his daughters were handed badges — living out the family legacy.

Perhaps Emily's biggest thrill came on April 29 when she received a call from Taylor Swift. The pop-country singer brought an ear-to-ear smile to the face of the preteen. The call came after days of supporters reaching out to Swift online.

The Chicago White Sox also invited Emily to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on May 10. This was the second time she and manager Robin Ventura met, as the pair also shared the stage at the Goodman Theatre in 2011 as part of a Make a Wish Foundation event.

Emily was then awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Xavier University on May 9 and landed her dream job two days later, working as a pediatric oncology nurse at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn.

Not surprisingly, Emily wore purple and green scrubs.

And though Emily's final days were shared with friends, family and beyond, her parents have asked for her funeral services to be private.

"I've shared her for four years. Please give me these last days. Family, close friends, her doctors and nurses are all that we are asking to attend. If we do not personally know you, please, please do not come," Nadia Beazley posted on Facebook.

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