They came from miles around, thousands upon thousands of holiday carolers who descended on a tiny street in West Reading, Pa., to make a holiday wish come true for an 8-year-old girl with terminal leukemia.
The family of the little girl, Delaney "Laney" Brown, received heartbreaking news last week when doctors told them that she may only have days, or weeks, to live. Family and friends have put on a brave face as they go about knocking items off her "bucket list."
But they are not alone. News of Laney's fight has roared across the Internet: In less than a week, the Team Laney Facebook page has grown from just over 7,000 "likes" to more than 103,000.
So when it became known that Laney wanted to hear Christmas carols, thousands up men, women and children showed up on Saturday night -- far exceeding West Reading's population of 4,000, according to the Reading Eagle. By some estimates, as many as 10,000 people showed up.
"Carolers rotated through holiday favorites, including 'Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,' 'Jingle Bells' and 'Joy to the World,'" according to the newspaper, which said the girl listened from her sick bed.
A picture of Laney, giving the "thumbs up" sign, was posted Saturday night on her Facebook page along with the caption: "I can hear you now!!! Love you!"
Carolers ended with a rendition of "Happy Birthday."
Laney turned 8 on Friday.
Be sure to read the Eagle's story about the Browns, and how they have endured since Laney was diagnosed in May.
Also on the girl's "bucket list" was a chance to talk to superstar singer Taylor Swift.
The girl's mother posted a message on Facebook saying Swift called Laney last week. Mom said she was initially worried that Laney might be too starstruck to speak.
But she said Swift took care of that: "Taylor was fabulous!! She really engaged Laney in conversation. Laney lit up and had a huge smile on her face. ... We will hold that memory in our hearts forever."
The Team Laney Facebook page is brimming with such updates, including one from Laney's dad assuring everyone that the family was not giving up the fight:
"I just want everyone to know there is still hope running through our hearts..."
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