SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Ten-year-old Emma Geiselman has had a long and painful journey, but you wouldn’t know it by just looking at her.
She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2009, and after 26 grueling months of treatment she is now five years cancer free.
And now she’s the new face of hope.
“My parents surprised me with this doll and said I’m girl of the year,” Emma said.
After interviewing a number of kids, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society saw something extra special in their choices this year.
“These children have gone through treatment for leukemia – and they’ve shown such courage and bravery and their families are just exemplary,” said Kathy Severson with the society.
Emma and her family will now be called to speak at events and help raise money to fight blood cancer.
“She’s always had this fire inside of her and this strength,” said Emma’s mom Cheryl. “And it just makes me so proud that she can share this message of hope and positivity with other kids.”
And she’s not alone. This year’s boy of the year is quite the inspiration himself.
Three-year-old Fritz Stark – or “Super Fritz” – says he’s been strong and brave, much like the stuffed lion friend that he’s holding.
Fritz was diagnosed with leukemia in 2015 and is going through the maintenance phase of his treatments, getting chemo every night.
“He is strong and fierce and courageous, and he has a wonderful attitude about it all,” said Fritz’ mom Anna.
Fritz’s parents have tried to make this process fun for Fritz, his brother Payne and the whole family. They’re looking forward to giving back.
“It’s really nice that Fritz gets to be a little bright star for everyone,” Anna said.
Two proud families are now pillars of inspiration.
“Don’t lose hope and stay positive ‘cause I never lost hope and my parents told me not to,” Emma said.
Emma was five years cancer free on Jan. 26. Fritz is progressing well and his last day of treatment is Dec. 11, 2018.