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Maria Rosploch holds her 3-month-old daughter, Mya, while speaking with a supporter at the Christmas for Lily celebration at R & R Landscaping in La Salle. The event was a Christmas party for Rosploch’s other daughter, Lily, but the 3-year-old was not feeling well enough to attend due to a recent chemotherapy session.
“Christmas with Lily” went ahead without the guest of honor on Saturday at R & R Landscaping in La Salle. Three-year-old Lily Rosploch was recovering from her most recent round of chemotherapy and wasn’t feeling well enough to attend the Christmas party which served as a thank you for the community’s outpouring of support. Community members have been invited to decorate two large Christmas trees standing outside R & R Landscaping, which is owned by Lily’s father, Mike Rosploch. Guests on Saturday evening witnessed a blessing of the trees by Abbot Phillip Davey of St. Bede and were entertained by Christmas songs performed by the St. Bede Academy choir. Santa and Mrs. Claus were available for photos, and an abundance of cookies and hot chocolate was served. Students from Peru and Ladd schools provided paper snowflakes to help transform the business into a winter wonderland for the event. Lily was diagnosed with cancerous neuroblastoma on June 28 this year — her third birthday. The community immediately rallied to support her parents, Mike and Maria, who were expecting their second child when they got the news. Lily’s sister, Mya, was born Aug. 1. A series of fundraisers have been organized by family friends Jen Riva and Jennifer Scheri, who created the Rally for Lily Foundation to assist the Rosplochs with medical bills. “We knew that there was going to be an outpouring of support for Mike and Maria,” Riva said. “It’s really become more than we ever expected.” The Facebook page, “Rally for Lily” has more than 4,000 “likes,” and around 200 of Lily’s supporters showed up for the Christmas party. Riva said Mike had wanted to give his wife and daughters a Christmas celebration before the family leaves town to continue Lily’s treatment. Her tumors have shrunk 25 percent thanks to the chemotherapy, Riva said, but doctors plan to operate to remove the tumors Dec. 7 at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis. Mike said the plan is to wait about two weeks after the surgery for Lily to recover before treating her with another round of chemotherapy. About five days after that, he said, doctors will replace the bone marrow they had extracted from his daughter before her first chemotherapy treatment. “After that, they’re going to send us home,” he said. The family anticipates a nearly three-month stay in Memphis, returning sometime in the middle or end of February. What the doctors will want to do next, he said, he doesn’t know. “I wish I could say, ‘Then after that we’ll be playing on the jungle gym,’” he said. But he expressed gratitude that Lily is being treated at St. Jude. “It’s good to know we’re not (just) in the best place in Illinois, or the best spot in the U.S.,” he said. “Everybody from all over the world goes there.” As for Lily, her mother said she has taken her lot in stride. “She’s a very strong little girl,” Maria said. “She’s amazing, to be honest. We’re very proud of her.” When Lily is feeling well, her mother said, she enjoys singing and dancing and is a “friendly, vibrant, happy … very caring and very lovable” girl. “We’re very appreciative and humbled by the love and support the community has given Lily,” Maria said. “I feel that they’ve rolled out the red carpet for her. We can’t thank them enough for their prayers, their thoughts, whatever they can give of their time. Every little bit helps.”
** The Rally for Lily Foundation will host a vendor fair 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25 at Senica’s Oak Ridge Golf Club.