Community Continues to Come Together to Help Girl Fighting Leukemia
PHILIPSBURG – Candles lit up the Cold Stream Dam’s landscape Friday night as a vigil was held for Emily Whitehead. Emily, six-years-old, and diagnosed with leukemia, was receiving treatment in a Philadelphia hospital at the time.
“What are we going to get,” asked Sharon Josefik through a Pennsylvania State Police cruiser’s speaker system.
“A miracle,” responded the crowd. The crowd would also occasionally shout, “We believe.”
During the gathering, it was announced that Emily Whitehead was making progress. While not officially cured, her doctors were not seeing leukemia in her blood, and the next step would be to check her bone marrow. It was also stated she was being brought off a respirator at 100 percent to 40 percent as she can handle the reduction.
“Unbelievable,” said Tim Whitehead, Emily’s grandfather at everything the community has done.
“Medically they can’t explain it,” said Tim Whitehead of Emily’s recovering. He explained that Emily had gone from near death two days prior to being weaned off a respiratory as the vigil occurring.
Zachery Josefik came up with the idea for the vigil. He had learned of Emily from a teacher he had back in elementary school. He said that it was hard to see a little girl go through having cancer.
“It’s very inspiring for us all to see how hard she is fighting,” said Zachary Josefik.
He indicated was surprised at the turnout. The effort began as the Candles for Emily FaceBook page three to four days before the vigil itself. Starting with only his friends on FaceBook, it had grown to 1,600 people stating they would attend. His mother, Sharon Josefik, helped by contacting the media and checking with the Philipsburg Borough about using the Cold Stream Dam park.