Makayla Duda is a beautiful little five year old.
"Makayla is a fantastic young little girl with the biggest spirit that I've ever seen in any child," her Aunt Kaleigh Hillegass said with a smile.
But she's battling a very ugly disease. Three years ago Makayla was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma.
It's an aggressive cancer that attacks the soft tissue and muscles.
"It's like a brick, it's the heaviest feeling in the world," Hillegass described. "She was two and now she's five, and pretty much her whole life has just been this battle to fight and get better."
Makayla went into remission for about six months in 2012. But then the cancer came back, and spread. About four months ago Makayla's fight got more intense. She's going through chemo and radiation, and lost all of her hair before Christmas.
Originally from the Lehigh Valley, Makayla now lives in Illinois. Looking to give the little girl some hope, and some normalcy, Andrea Beson decided to mail Makayla a card.
"I've never met her, never met Makayla," explained Andrea.
And then she asked others to do the same.
"Three dollars and a stamp can make somebody very very happy."
Since October, the effort has grown.
Cards show up in Makayla's mailbox from across the county, even across the ocean.
So far she's received more than 250 greetings. Family members say the warm wishes from mostly strangers trigger an instant change in the five-year-old.
"When she just reads a simple card from someone she's never met, says 'hey we care about you, we know what you're going through, and you're such a beautiful little girl, and keep your head up, you're a ray of sunshine,' she just forgets that she's so sick," Hillegass said.
More information about Makayla, including how you can send her a card is listed on her Facebook page.
Allentown, PA 18102
- Lehigh Valley 69 News