As the coronavirus forces people to practice social distancing, a New Jersey neighborhood celebrated one little girl’s last day of chemotherapy with a drive-by, honk-and-wave parade.
Emelina “Emma” Sergentakis took her last chemotherapy pill on Sunday and marked the occasion with a parade of cars that stretched close to a mile down the block, her mother, Janine Sergentakis, told, “Good Morning America.” Among the visitors were Emma’s teachers, her school principal, extended family of teachers and her friends.
“I never anticipated there being as many cars as there were … it was just incredible,” Janine Sergentakis said.
#EmmaTheBrave was painted on most signs, a nickname given to Emma by a family friend.
“All of her friends were hanging out their windows with huge signs. It was amazing … she was so, so excited,” Janine Sergentakis said. “She was really excited to see her teacher, she misses [school] so much. She was just ecstatic.”
Emma was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December 2017. Since August 2018, the Manalapan, New Jersey, native has been receiving administered chemotherapy every night at home, according to her mother.
“[Emma] has never complained. She’s been through hell and she’s always had a smile on her face,” said Janine Sergentakis.
“I always envisioned you know, T-shirts and signs and a [big celebration] for Emma, but, because of everything that’s going on, that wasn’t possible,” said Janine Sergentakis, who thanked a local neighborhood Facebook group for organizing the parade.
As for now, Emma is still considered immunocompromised and the Sergentakis family is practicing social distancing and self-quarantining, but hopes to celebrate in-person with friends and family soon. Emma is especially looking forward to growing new hair and taking a postponed trip to Disney World, Janine Sergentakis said.
“When this is all over, we do plan to have a huge party with all of our family, all of our friends, all of her friends, and just celebrate [Emma] and everything that she’s been through,” Janine Sergentakis said.