Today, February 18, is the birthday of Scandia Elementary student Malia Peterson, who reportedly died in 2010 after a 14-month battle with kidney cancer.
It’s also the day that her family, along with people from 83 countries, chose to honor her with the campaign “Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day,” according to CBS Minnesota.
The event was first celebrated in 2013 with close friends and family through a virtual birthday party for Malia via Facebook, but this year, “Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day” was opened up to other families of children with cancer, according to the publication Forest Lake Times.
— Deanna Fry (@DeannaFryTV) February 18, 2015
The response to the Facebook page that the Peterson family made was beyond what they had expected. Within three days of opening the page, more than 1,600 people reportedly checked in from 12 different countries, including 55 families of kids with cancer.
“We were blown away by the response but it only served to encourage us more,” stated Annette Peterson, Malia’s mother.
She continued, “We started receiving thank you’s from all over the world. People were going on about how much they appreciated the support for and the recognition of their children. The photos kept coming in, and we found it to be a great way to not only honor Malia, but to honor all kids with cancer.”
“Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day” is now serving a purpose as valuable as honoring Malia, who was unable to make it to her 10th birthday.
What started as a small online event is now bringing families together in order to encourage and support one another through the “lonely, isolated” life that the Peterson family had experienced.
“We just feel so blessed that we have been able to reach out to so many people through our daughter. The way this effort has grown is a really great thing and we hope to see it continue to get bigger every year. The support of the families and the kids dealing with cancer is what this is all about,” stated Peterson.