Girl, 5, Dies of Brain Cancer After People Around the World Came Together to Celebrate Her Final Birthday

Delaney Krings was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in October 2022

Delaney Krings
Photo: Go Fund Me

Delaney Krings — a 5-year-old who celebrated her final birthday in December with a parade and thousands of cards from loved ones and strangers around the world — has died, just months after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in October.

The girl's mother, Heather Krings, announced her death on the family's CaringBridge page on Saturday. "Our Sweet Angel Baby has gained her wings," Krings captioned a photo of her daughter. "Delaney Judith Krings. 12.16.2017 — 1.28.2023. Fly high, my sweet baby."

In an update on a GoFundMe page created to support the family, organizer Judy Krings wrote that the "beautiful little girl" from Pewaukee, Wisconsin, made "us all better people."

Delaney Krings
Go Fund Me

"Having a big brother and sister was amazing. She will love them forever and a day. Her mom and dad were her cheerleaders," the organizer wrote. "They guarded her from everything bad in the world, and filled her with everything love. They taught her about rainbows, ponies, and cupcakes with delicious frosting. When they also became her health care parents, they did everything possible on earth to make sure every day of her short life was the very best it could be."

"Like a flower that we see the beauty of for only a while, we all cherished every single day of Delaney's 1,869 days on earth," the update continued. "To those she knew, and those she never met, she made us all better people. Make her proud of you. Your heart, like ours, may be broken. But a broken heart has spaces that can now be filled with the glue of love. Enjoy the love of life in heaven Delaney."

The GoFundMe page has had over 2,000 donations, amounting to just over $147,000 of a now $200,000 goal, as of Monday.

Delaney Krings
Go Fund Me

Another way people have shown their support? For her 5th birthday on Dec. 16, Delaney received thousands of cards and notes from all over the world.

The idea of a birthday card drive was sparked by Sharon Tomlinson, the family's real estate agent and close friend. Tomlinson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she ended up accumulating 15,000 birthday cards — some of which even included images from the movie Frozen. Virtually, even more people shared messages on the For the Love of Delaney Facebook page.

Among those well-wishers was J.J. Watt, a native of Pewaukee and a recently-retired defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals, who wished the young girl a happy birthday on Twitter. "From Arizona back home to Pewaukee, I hope you have a fantastic birthday surrounded by family and friends," he wrote.

And on Dec. 16, Delaney was celebrated with a parade organized by the Wisconsin Truck Takeover Enthusiasts group, which featured nearly 500 vehicles and participants.

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After announcing her daughter's death this weekend, her mother told Today that the best way to remember Delaney is to "be kind" and to "pay some kindness forward in her name."

"Please know in your heart she's sharing a little bit of her love with you now, too, in the hopes that it helps you find light when it's dark, and find the love when you're sad," she said.

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