A 4-year-old girl with an inoperable brain tumor is getting a lot of love from a group of third graders who want to make sure she has a bright holiday season.
Evangeline Tietjen, who goes by Lena, was diagnosed with brain cancer this fall. Her parents took her to the hospital after what they thought was a stomach virus escalated to weakened motor function, according to ABC News.
Lena left her home in New Jersey to receive treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where doctors later diagnosed her with an inoperable malignant tumor.
“[Her doctors] initially said that without treatments, she would have three months to live,” dad Matt Tietjen said. “But they were hopeful that chemotherapy and radiation could extend that to one year.”
Lena has been in the hospital ever since. She recently asked for book donations for “Lena’s Library.” One of her favorite things to do in the hospital is read with her parents.
When third-grade students at an elementary school close to Lena’s home heard the story, they immediately wanted to help.
The class collected more than 100 books to send to Lena, so her parents could read to her as she went through treatment.
The class also came up with the idea to start a project called “Light Up Evangeline’s World with Kindness.” Each student wrote a message to Evangeline on a paper light bulb.
“It’s something that we had seen as a project, and we just kind of tweaked it to make it special for Evangeline,” third grade teacher Courtney Tucker told SNJ Today. “And the kids wrote messages like, ‘Evangeline, I hope your Christmas wishes come true,’ ‘I hope you make it home for Christmas,’ ‘You are so brave,’ ‘You’re an inspiration to me.’”
Her family told ABC News that they are grateful for the support she has received from strangers across the country. They say Evangeline has been extremely brave throughout her treatment.
Evangeline’s family started a GoFundMe page to raise money for medical expenses. If you would like to donate, click here.