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5-Year-Old Girl with Terminal Cancer Dies After a Special Summer That Saw Her Biggest Dreams Come True

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Bryce Jenkinson

Lila May Schow, a 5-year-old girl with terminal cancer who inspired her Oregon town, died on Saturday surrounded by family and close friends.

The little girl’s heroic story motivated her entire community to come together over the summer to make her birthday dreams come true. News of the town’s generosity and the dream princess-themed bash made headlines around the world, bringing attention to a story that has been going on for three years.

“My heart is shattered into a million pieces,” Lila’s mom, Heidi Hall, posted on the Facebook page dedicated to her daughter. “There is no pain on earth that is worse than this. The world will never be the same without her beautiful face here with us.”

The young girl from Hood River, Oregon, was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma at the age of 2. When doctors told her mother that Lila’s body was too weak to continue treatment in early July, her family and community rallied to bring her as much joy as possible during her remaining months.

After getting the birthday party of a lifetime, spending a week in Hawaii, and being named the princess of her town, Lila had one dream left – to dance on stage with Luke Bryan.

Lila May Schow dances with her father, Ryan Schow
“She’s just always loved him, whenever she hears his songs come on, she starts dancing,” her mother told PEOPLE earlier this month. “Her favorite song of all time is ‘That’s My Kind of Night.’ If she could to be on stage with him while he sings that song, that would just make her whole entire year.”

After reading about Lila’s wish on PEOPLE.com, Bryan jumped at the chance to make the little girl’s dream come true.

“Luke personally called Lila and talked to her and her family,” Jenny Brown-Lorenzen, a close friend of Lila’s family, told PEOPLE. “They were so very impressed.”

Lila May Schow rushes in to her princess-themed party
Bryce Jenkinson
Bryan also recorded a special video message for Lila and arranged for her and her family to get VIP tickets for an upcoming concert.

“Luke was also going to have Lila sing her favorite song, ‘That’s My Kind of Night’ with him on stage,” Lorenzen said. “It would have been priceless.”

“Lila’s family was so touched by Luke’s genuine support and compassion,” she continued. “It meant so much to them.”

Lila May Schow enjoys a carriage ride with her three best friends
Bryce Jenkinson
Sadly, Lila will not be able to live her final dream – she was diagnosed with two internal bleeds in her brain and was placed on hospice care in early September.

Lila was in hospice care when she received the call from Bryan. Frozen star Kristen Bell also called to grant the young girl princess of Arendelle powers.

Hundreds gather to celebrate Lila May Schow’s 5th birthday
Bryce Jenkinson
Along with the announcement of her death, Lila’s mother posted photos of a trip to Hawaii the family took in August. The photos show the spunky little girl who inspired thousands with a huge smile on her face.

Thanks to the support of her community, Lila’s last months were filled with moments of real joy.