HAMPSTEAD -- On Friday a young Pender County girl lost her battle with cancer. Monday friends and family of Emily Hollis celebrated her short life. More than 500 people showed up to remember the little girl who courageously battled a cancerous brain tumor. In her six short years she touched hundreds of people. Monday they celebrated the life of Emily Hollis, wearing her favorite colors: pink and purple. Emily was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in August of 2005. We first met Emily a year ago when her family and friends gathered near the Hollis home in Hampstead. Thhey were welcoming Emily back from five months of chemotherapy and radiation at Duke Children's Hospital. Emily's mom Dawn Hollis said, "I appreciate everybody's support. It's been unbelievable what she's been through." Ever since Emily's diagnosis the community has rallied around the Hollis family. Emily became a poster child for raising awareness for childhood cancer through her group known as Emily's Encouragers. Stephanie Ottaway with Emily's Encouragers said, "She was always smiling every time we saw her. She smiled in the hospital through everything she went through she rarely cried." There was no cure for Emily's condition. Even so, she endured research trials, and countless tests, the hope being what she went through might help save another young life. "We learn from Emily's struggle that it's not about the joy of life," Ottaway said. Balloons were released into the sky to symbolize Emily's freedom from illness. Emily loved to draw. She loved butterflies and Scooby Doo, and most of all, she loved to spend time with her family. Emily Grace Hollis was six years old.
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