Delaney "Laney" Ann Brown died on Christmas from complications from leukemia, five days after her 8th birthday.
It was on her birthday, Dec. 20, that Brown made headlines when she received a phone call from Taylor Swift, who had heard about Brown's struggle with leukemia through Make- A-Wish America. Brown lived in West Reading, Pennsylvania, just down the road from Reading, where Swift was born.
The pair had a conversation via Facetime, so they could see each other while they spoke; and judging from a post on Facebook, fulfilling the "bucket list" item put a smile on the young girl's face.
"Laney was so nervous to talk to her because she is such a 'famous celebrity.' I was actually worried that when Taylor Facetimed her that she would be too scared to talk but Taylor was fabulous!! She really engaged Laney in conversation," reads the Facebook post (which is not attributed, but appears to have been written by one of Brown's parents). "Laney lit up and had a huge smile on her face. I can't thank Taylor enough for taking time out from her family to make Laney's birthday very memorable. We will hold that memory in our hearts forever."
Another item on Laney's bucket list also came true the following day when more than 10,000 people gathered outside the Brown family home to sing Christmas carols for the ailing girl. A post on the Team Laney Facebook page revealed that Brown was struggling while the carols were being sung. "As 'Jingle Bells' and other carols are being sung for Laney, she was surrounded by nurses and paramedics assessing her breathing." The family posted a photo of Brown with her eyes closed, wearing an oxygen mask with the caption, "I can hear you now!!! Love you!!!"
Sadly, however, Laney succumbed to leukemia on Wednesday. "My heart breaks right now," a post on her Facebook page read. "Our little angel on earth earned her pink glittery angel wings in heaven. She took her last breath at home in her bed at 3:10 surrounded by all her family and friends. I miss her so much already."
On Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the family will hold a public viewing of Brown at the Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home in West Reading. "In honor of Laney's fashionista style, please dress to impress, bright colors are encouraged," the notice reads.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking contributions in Laney's honor be made to the Four Diamonds Fund, which benefits children with pediatric cancer treated at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.