LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Gabriella Miller, a 10-year-old Loudoun County girl who spent much of her 11-month battle with brain cancer helping to raise awareness about childhood brain tumors and money for the Make-A-Wish foundation, died over the weekend.
A post on her Facebook fan page said hospice care had begun last week and that Gabriella was comfortable until she passed at 11:50 p.m. Saturday.
Her family elected to donate her tumor for cancer research.
“Cancer took her over, took away her ability to walk, talk & move – with the exception of her right arm, with which she communicated with us by signing – but G still had all her mental faculties,” her family wrote on Facebook. “She KNEW everything that was happening. This fact makes me both happy & sad. Happy because we had the ability to communicate with each other until the end. And, sad because Gabriella knew what was happening to her. She was trapped inside her own body.”
Leesburg Today reports that Gabriella started a fundraising campaign for the Make-A-Wish Foundation late last year, soon after she found out that the organization would fund her wish, a trip to Paris.
She saw an advertisement for Macy’s A Million Reasons to Believe campaign, which donates $1 to Make-A-Wish for every Dear Santa letter it receives, and set out to deliver 10,000 letters. Ultimately, she delivered nearly a quarter million.
In May, Gabriella won Loudoun County’s Volunteer of the Year Award for her fundraising efforts. Also in May, Make-A-Wish sent her and her family to France for a two-week trip.
A public memorial service for Gabriella will be held on Wednesday at 6:30pm at Heritage High School in Leesburg.
“Children are encouraged to wear bright colors to honor Gabriella’s joyous spirit,” according to her Facebook page.
She will be laid to rest in a private graveside ceremony. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Smashing Walnuts, the brain cancer research charity Gabriella founded.