ROCHESTER, Minn. – Emersyn Brown was never worried about her hair.
“Who cares? It will grow back,” Brown, 10, told her mother, Kelly Patterson, when the effects of cancer began to kick in.
Brown, a fifth-grader at West Fork, has been at Mayo Clinic since March 2.
She wasn’t feeling well for around two weeks. Maybe it was the flu, which so many in the area dealt with this winter, the family thought. Soon, they learned it was something more.
On March 3, she was diagnosed with B cell acute leukemia.
The news hit family and friends “like a punch in the gut.”
“It was surreal. This is really happening to us?” Patterson said.
Through the most difficult days, the family of Emersyn Brown has been taken aback by the outpouring of support they’ve received from their communities.
A GOFUNDME ACCOUNT HAS BEEN SET UP FOR EMERSYN BROWN.
The most recent gesture came from one of Brown’s friends, who decided to shave her head during a weekend trip to Mayo Clinic.
Eastyn Petersen’s idea was simple, and it allowed Emersyn to be the barber.
“She just wanted to feel that connection,” Patterson said. “Even the doctors, they were doing rounds. And we had a garbage bag to put the hair in. They just laughed and said, ‘that’s a good friend.’”
It’s those moments that bring a smile to those closest to Brown.
Emersyn’s parents, Kelly and Carter Patterson and Tim and Karen Brown, credit the Ronald McDonald House for “its incredible resources.”
“Keep collecting pop tabs,” Patterson said.
The communities of St. Ansgar and West Fork, where her parents live, have offered support in a number of ways, including students wearing orange to show their support and using the hashtag #emersynstrong.
A benefit for Emersyn will be held April 7 in Rockwell, and her family said the support from around the area has been vital during their most difficult times.
“People just want to help. It really shows that people are good and want to help,” Kelly Patterson said.
On Friday, Emersyn took matters into her own hands regarding her hair. She was losing it and it was spotty, so she decided she was going to cut it herself.
“She’s been sassy from Day 1,” her mother said with a laugh.
There are moments when the family can smile, like when her friend decided to shave her head or when Emersyn thought it was time to cut her own hair.
But there are difficult days. Many of them, in fact.
However, one thing remains: The 10-year-old girl continues to inspire many.
“It was more of the reality that cancer is really here. But she said, ‘Mom, I don’t care,’” Patterson said. “I look at her and I’m so proud.”
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