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LV girl to be honored for cancer fight

The American Cancer Society (ACS) will honor Emily FaRannte, a Lower Saucon Township survivor of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) who created a toy drive for fellow cancer patients, during its telethon this weekend. Emily will receive the Courage Award for her valor in fighting cancer and working on behalf of other pediatric cancer patients.

Emily is 12 years old and a dedicated dancer who assists with teaching younger students at En Avant School of Dance. The first sign that something was wrong came in the spring of 2022, when she developed back pain and came close to losing consciousness – stunning the mother of this healthy, active girl. Her NHL diagnosis provided the reason for her symptoms, but it was a frightening one for her family.

After her May 2022 diagnosis, Emily relied on her Squishmallow stuffed animal, “Rosie,” to give her comfort during the months of medical procedures that followed. Wanting to share this source of strength with other kids facing cancer, Emily began a campaign to collect Squishmallows for children undergoing testing and treatment at Reilly Children’s Hospital, part of the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

During the first four weeks of Emily’s campaign donors dropped off 463 stuffed animals at donation boxes at local businesses like Embassy Bank, Salon Mia and the Hellertown Post Office. Saucon Valley SD allowed her to sell “Emily’s Fight” bracelets at her school during lunch, and the proceeds were used to buy more Squishmallows.

Emily is currently at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, undergoing the next phase of her treatment. “That’s the most important place for her to be,” says ACS telethon chairman Joe Krushinsky. Emily’s mother, Adele, will receive her daughter’s Courage Award on her behalf at the Steel Pub (320 E. First St. in Bethlehem) between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. this Sunday, April 2. Members of the community are welcome to visit the pub and donate Squishmallows at the ACS van that will be on site. The ceremony will be broadcast during the regional ACS telethon on Service Electric Cable TV channel 913.

The ACS hopes to expand on Emily’s initial success in 2023, with the support of more businesses. Different levels of commitment, from “Huggable Partner” to “Title Partner,” are available; interested businesses should call or email James Pepe (610-572-3645, james.pepe@cancer.org) for details on participating. The ACS “Lehigh Valley vs. Cancer” Facebook page will post donation locations as they become available (https://www.facebook.com/groups/acslehighvalley).

Press Photo courtesy of the FaRannte family Emily FaRannte, a 12-year-old Lower Saucon Township resident, was an active dancer when she was diagnosed with cancer in May 2022. Emily's toy drive garnered 463 Squishmallow stuffed animals in just four weeks of soliciting donations from local business patrons.
Emily FaRannte with her family: Mike, Ava, Michael, Adele and Natalie.