A very special little girl and the power of social media have inspired one of the most remarkable outpourings of the Christmas spirit that we've seen yet.
Delaney "Laney" Brown of West Reading, Pa. was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in May, and her condition worsened as the holidays approached, WPVI reports. On December 17, the family was told she had only weeks to live.
With Laney's 8th birthday on December 20 and Christmas around the corner, her family turned to the Team Laney Facebook page, which shares updates on Laney's condition with more than 94,000 followers, for help in granting some of her wishes. One of her wishes was to listen to Christmas carols and another was to meet with area native Taylor Swift.
A few weeks ago, the Make-A-Wish Foundation stepped in and arranged a video call with Swift on Laney's birthday. Then, the next day, thousands of followers showed up under her home to fulfill her wish.
A 'Christmas Caroling for Laney' event was organized for Saturday at 7 pm outside of the family's home. Volunteers were asked to sing for an hour from the street so that Laney could listen from her bed. Almost 10,000 carolers turned up, according to a press release.
"Just the different stories her mother has posted regularly showing her strength, her courage, her humor -- this is heartbreaking," caroler Megan McGee told WPVI. "All she wants is carols, and we can do that."
"A lot of people don't even know her but through social media have been able to give her this wish. Unfortunately, this could be her last Christmas and everyone wanted to make it special for her," Deb Redcay, another supporter, told the news station.
Their list of Christmas melodies included "Silent Night," "Jingle Bells" and "Joy to the World." They finished with a belated "Happy Birthday," the Reading Eagle reports.
Local Coryn Rank, 19, who has been a supporter of Laney's since the summer, told the Eagle, "I hope Laney and her family know we see how rough of a road it's been and how much we all are willing to do for her in this hard time in her life."
UPDATE: According to an update on the Team Laney Facebook page, Laney died in the early hours of December 25.
For further updates, visit the Team Laney Facebook page.