Couple honors late daughter by giving more than $100k to families battling cancer
Posted May 16, 2016
ALPINE, Calif. — A California couple who lost their baby daughter to cancer are honoring her memory by giving more than $100,000 to charity.
From the moment she was born, Kylie Elizabeth Rowland was the “light” of her parents’ lives.
“Everyone who met her fell in love with her,” Bree Rowland, Kylie’s mom, told Today.
Their little girl loved to laugh and cuddle, and brought joy to all those with whom she came in contact, according to her parents. But when she was just 19 months old, Kylie started acting differently. It didn’t take long for her parents to realize something was very wrong.
“I remember hearing this blood-curdling scream, and it scared me. We couldn’t console her,” Luke Rowland, Kylie’s father, told Today. A trip to the emergency room confirmed the Rowlands’ worst fears — their daughter had cancer.
“She had tumors all over her face,” Bree Rowland said.
Kylie was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. Family and friends rallied around the heartbroken parents as they fought hard to keep their daughter alive. Strangers and loved ones donated more than $100,000 to a GoFundMe account to help pay for Kylie’s treatments — most of which took place in New York City.
Bree Rowland detailed Kylie’s journey on a Facebook page, “Prayers for Kylie,” which grabbed the attention of more than 100,000 people from around the world, Today reports.
“It goes to show you there are so many good people in this world, and that they want to help make a difference,” Luke Rowland said.
After a year-long battle involving 10 surgeries, the Rowlands’ vibrant little girl passed away, according to Today.
A year after her death, her parents are keeping her memory alive through the foundation they started in her name, according to Today. The Kylie Rowland Foundation has distributed more than $130,000 to families with children who are fighting cancer.
The foundation helps these families with groceries, gas and even mortgage payments.
“You’re trying to save your child’s life,” said Bree Rowland. “You shouldn’t have to worry about where you’re going to get your food or whether you’ll lose your house.”
The Rowlands keep Kylie at the center of all they do.
“I never knew how much I could truly love somebody until my daughter was born,” Luke Rowland told Today. “Kylie will forever be implanted in our family no matter what.”
Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.