Jessica Brill and Johnny Ray Servantes were ecstatic about becoming parents. When the San Antonio natives welcomed their daughter Emerie Servantes, they immediately fell in love with her.
They expected their daughter to hit all the milestones an infant is supposed to hit and life went on without a hitch. But when their little girl was two years old, she stopped eating and would refuse all food. Her parents noticed their vibrant little girl turn listless and saw that she would not even go from one room to another; only staying in her bed.
When she was checked over by doctors, they saw that she was anemic and recommended she get blood transfusions. Upon more investigation by doctors, they found out it was more than anemia that was keeping the little girl down…
Doctors discovered that the little girl had leukemia and diagnosed her on October 19, 2020. Her parents had never ever imagined their child would fall sick and get such a big diagnosis.
Soon little Emerie’s treatment began and she was had to undergo harsh chemotherapy sessions. The little girl did not understand why she was being made to undergo such procedures and whenever the family met a physician she would turn to her mom and plead, “Mommy, don’t let them hurt me.” Her mother would be upset at having to hear her daughter say that but remained strong for the little girl’s sake.
Even though her parents had divorced one another, they stayed in touch and worked together for their daughter’s treatment. Soon little Emerie started to lose her hair. Her mother Brill and her aunt Isabel shaved their heads in solidarity with the little girl so she would not feel alone.
Little Emerie was getting better when she had to deal with the most heartbreaking news. On March 27, 2022, her mother passed away after she was involved in an accident with a drunk driver.
The news hit little Emerie hard. Her mother had been her primary caretaker and her sudden absence made the toddler anxious. She had seperation anxiety and hence always demanded her father to be present by her side.
Johnny made sure he was always there for his little girl but as a result he could not work and hence needed another source of income. His mother set up a GoFundMe page for him and they raise some money to help him get by. During all of this, his truck broke down as well and he urgently needed funds to have it fixed because that was the vehicle he used to transport his daughter to and from her chemotherapy sessions.
One At A Time Campaign Director Nick Ordonez partnered with the father-daughter duo to help them raise the funds they needed. Both men kept in touch, and a while later Ordonez received a call from Johnny saying that he had had trouble getting out of bed and had been diagnosed with cancer as well.
The concerned dad was more worried about his toddler’s future than his own. He requested that in case he died, the fundraiser continue so that his little girl could have some money once he was gone.
He also showed Emerie’s grandmother how to care for Emerie as he knew he was nearing the end of his life. On September 29, 2022, just three weeks after he received his diagnosis, he passed away.
Little Emerie lost both her parents within the span of five months, that too when she herself was undergoing such heavy treatment for her own leukemia diagnosis.
However she stayed strong and her grandmother reported the little girl believed her parents were “With Jesus,” and had reunited with one another in heaven.
Ordonez was still rallying for little Emerie. He had talked to her dad a day before he had passed away. The One At A Time Campaign made plans to send Emerie to her dream vacation to Disneyland with her family.
The fundraiser managed to raise $7,700 as of October 18. Before he had passed, Johnny had also made sure to make arrangements for a celebration for Emery for bravely battling cancer and beating it. Her birthday is also coming up in December, where she will turn 5 years old!
While her grandmother dearly misses her parents, she was also happy to care for her beloved grandchild, mentioning that Johnny had left such detailed instructions for her care that she faced no learning curves.