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This little girl lives in my town. Her name is Shelby. This is such a sad sad story... I thought i'd share it now that it was just annouced that experimental drugs will not work for her so the ending result is fatal.


This is the our local newspaper... shes on the front page of the web site today (she probably wont be on there tomorrow though) Local paper

This is the 1st article in our local paper about Shelby. article
This is the 2nd article about Shelby not being able to get treatment to help her 2nd article

This is her web site! weloveshelby web site

Life is so short...
If you read her web site.. it says that her family keeps taking pictures of her on her dad's couch and there are spots in the pictures... which are the angels that surround her in the room she says. They comfort her so she sleeps there at night instead of being in her bedroom.
 

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Originally posted by Kodie@Mar 7 2005, 01:52 PM
This little girl lives in my town.  Her name is Shelby.  This is such a sad sad story... I thought i'd share it now that it was just annouced that experimental drugs will not work for her so the ending result is fatal. 
 


This is the our local newspaper... shes on the front page of the web site today (she probably wont be on there tomorrow though) Local paper

This is the 1st article in our local paper about Shelby.  article
This is the 2nd article about Shelby not being able to get treatment to help her 2nd article

This is her web site! weloveshelby web site

Life is so short...
If you read her web site.. it says that her family keeps taking pictures of her on her dad's couch and there are spots in the pictures... which are the angels that surround her in the room she says.  They comfort her so she sleeps there at night instead of being in her bedroom.
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Do you know if they have contacting Make-A-Wish? My mom is the co-chair of the Dubuque, IA branch. It is a great organization. This part is going to sound bad...If she doesn't have a lot of time left they can put a rush on the wish.

For more info click here
 

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Reading this broke my heart too... She is truly a beautiful young lady with a beautiful soul!! Thank you for sharing this story! I think there must be something about her, especially with angels around her and appearing in the pictures with only her in it!
 

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Well... Shelby passed away yesterday morning... it was posted on her web site yesterday night... and there is a benefit that was scheduled for her this thursday.. this is such a sad story.
There is an article in our local paper today... I never read anything like it....
"Spirited Absecon girl dies after battle with cancer

ABSECON - The community that joined together to pray for a young girl battling cancer began mourning her Tuesday.

Shelby Richter, whose Web site chronicled her battle with undifferentiated sarcoma, died at her father's home. She was 13.

"She's a real angel now," said her mother, Charlene Ruark.

As her illness progressed, Shelby preferred sleeping in the living room at her dad's house. Her dad, Bart Richter, often stayed there with her.

Pictures of Shelby taken in that room had white orbs in them she said were her angels.

Perhaps someone was watching over the whole family Monday night. It was the first time in two weeks Ruark slept at the Richters'; Shelby's parents are divorced and married to other people.

Shelby's brother, Justin, 11, also stayed over, as did a favorite aunt, Shelly Higgins.

Ruark said when her husband, Rodney, was leaving the Richters' on Monday night he said to her, "I think you should stay tonight," she recalled. "I said, 'I think so too.'

"It was like we kind of knew."

* * *

Shelby Richter was found to have undifferentiated sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, in December, after doctors discovered a tumor in her stomach.

In late February, doctors said the chemotherapy was not working. Shelby was not expected to live long.

Hoping for a miracle, her parents - Charlene and Rodney Ruark and Bart and Shannon Richter - took her to Atlanta, where a doctor had found success with an alternative cancer treatment. After one session, he told Shelby's family the disease had progressed too far and she should be home.

With the family anticipating big bills not covered by insurance, a group of Absecon mothers began making plans for a benefit for Shelby. That is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Rifici's Ristorante.

"The benefit will go on as planned," Bart Richter said. "One of our key phrases, as sick as she was, was we're going to party all the time."

He said Shelby had looked forward to being at the event. "She's going to be there."

Shelby's medical bills are paid, so the money will be dispersed according to her wishes, including cancer research, Richter said. She also wanted pink mimosa trees - Shelby's favorite color was pink -planted at the city's schools and one at Heritage Park with benches under them where people can sit and reflect.

Richter asked that anyone who wants a refund on their ticket get in touch with the family.

"We've been blessed from everyone in Atlantic County," he said. "We don't want to take advantage of anybody."

* * *

Shelby's death was announced at Holy Spirit High School on Tuesday, but the Absecon School District decided to hold off telling their students.

"The time of day we received the information, we thought it was more appropriate for parents to address this with their children," Superintendent James Giaquinto said.

A statement will be read to students today and counselors from the district and outside agencies will be on hand for students, he said.

Giaquinto said he will send a letter home to parents today letting them know how things went. The date and time of the funeral services had not been set Tuesday, but he said that if it is during the schoolday, the attendance policy will be waived for students wishing to attend.

"Shelby was a courageous young lady who won the hearts of the Absecon community," he said. "She was a beautiful person inside and outside. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Richter and Ruark families."

* * *

Shelby had talked with her parents about a lot of things before she died. She wants everyone to wear her favorite color, pink, at her funeral. And the girl with the bright smile didn't want tears.

"If you were going to die, Mom, what would you do?" Shelby asked her mother in her final days.

"I told her, 'Shelby, sometimes people die and they never get to say goodbye," Charlene Ruark said. "You have an opportunity to say things to people."

Shelby got her goodbyes.

Her speech hadn't been very clear the past two nights, her father said. But when she woke up Monday night, "She looked at me and said, 'Dad.'"

"Yeah, baby."

"I love you," she said. "It was the clearest that I've heard her speak in days," said Richter.

"I said, 'I love you too, baby.'"

Earlier she had put her arm around her mother and said, "I love you" as well.

Bart Richter slept on cushions next to the couch where Shelby slept Monday. She had been up much of the night, antsy, he said.

When he woke up at 9:30 Tuesday morning, Shelby had rolled over to be near him. He tried to pick her up to move her; his wife, Shannon, heard him and woke up Shelby's mom.

Charlene Ruark came in and put her arms around Shelby from the back as Richter held her in the front.

"Turn me around," Shelby said. "We turned her around and she could see all three of us," Richter said of him, Ruark and Shannon Richter.

"I picked her up in my arms and cradled her," he said. "I laid her on the couch and heard her last breath."

"It was like she waited for us both to be there," Ruark said.

Her parents know they have a long road of grief ahead, but they take peace in knowing Shelby's suffering is over. And they take strength from their daughter.

"She had this quiet strength about her that made you feel comforted," her mom said.

"You try to learn from your parents," Shelby's dad said. "Sometimes you lose sight, you really need to learn from your kids too."

Details of Shelby's funeral will be finalized today."
 
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