Emily Haley, whose battle against cystic fibrosis led the community to raise about $500,000 for a double lung transplant, died early Monday. She was 14.
“She fought this hard until the end,” said her aunt, Patty Grimes.
Family members said that Emily was doing well until a few weeks ago .
“Things took a turn for the worse,” said her father, Bill Haley. “She couldn’t fight an infection.” She died at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk.
Over the past two years, the condition of Emily’s lungs had not deteriorated to the point where she needed the transplant. If she had beaten the infection, she could have flown to St. Louis, Mo., for the operation, Bill Haley said.
The community in 2004 got behind Emily after a thief stole a canister of donations for her operation from a Chesapeake sub shop. After media attention generated by the theft, the Emily’s Breath of Hope campaign raised more than $500,000 in just seven months.
The money raised through auctions, raffles and benefit concerts will now go toward the Children’s Organ Transplant Association to be used as matching funds for other operations.
“Our family can’t thank the community enough,” Grimes said. “They saw a little girl needed their help.”
Bill Haley wanted to ask one more thing of community members: to become organ donors.
Emily enjoyed being with her 12-year-old sister and twin 11-year-old sisters. Despite being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which made it difficult for her to breathe, Emily wanted to dance and play soccer like her sisters. And she did.
“She never wanted to let this keep her back,” Grimes said.
You know what to do.