These days, everyone is quick quick to throw the word “hero” around, but when you meet someone like Laura Pita, you remember what the word is all about.
She watched her mother wage a valiant but ultimately losing battle to cancer. At the same time, she learned her 7-year-old son, Josh, had leukemia.
Laura says she wasn’t just knocked back on her heels, she was knocked flat on her back.
Josh was diagnosed the day before Thanksgiving and by February or March, he was starting to feel better. But then in March, she learned her mother was terminally ill. She then passed away in April.
Between her son and her mother, she spent a lot of time in hospitals, and she said, frankly, it’s boring to spend a lot of time in hospitals. So she started looking for something to keep her busy.
She decided to make a tutu for her niece, and on the day she finished it, her mother, Emmy, died.
She instantly decided to make tutus for all the girls on the cancer floor at the hospital where her son was being treated. When she posted a picture on Facebook, all of her friends immediately volunteered their time and started brainstorming things to make for the boys, too.
In that moment of grief, something wonderful was born. Emmy’s Heart is now a grassroots campaign that is helping to bring smiles to children and families in hospitals across the country. Already, there are branches in South Florida (Laura’s area), Philadelphia, Vermont and Oregon. Some are run by family members and some are run by complete strangers who recognized the power of this simple idea.
She explains how a devastating diagnosis like this affects the whole family, including canceling play dates for her other three children and stopping family outings since Josh’s immunity was so compromised, and why something as simple as a tutu or a cape can bring a much-needed boost of joy to a family.
For more information about the organization, visit EmmysHeart.org.