Harder Family

Harder Family

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Tribute to Emily

Psalm 147:3 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

On May 29, 2018, our lives were changed when Wayne met a beautiful young girl at Midway Airport. I remember receiving a phone call from Wayne on the airplane explaining that he didn't get her contact information and really wanted to find her. He told me that all he knew was her first name and that she was from Nebraska. He asked me to go on Facebook and find her. I remember thinking, "Social media is pretty amazing, but that is like a needle in the haystack." But, I decided to give it a try and here was my post:

"I know this is a long shot, but I thought I'd ask you all to share this post and see what happens. My husband, Wayne, met a girl about our daughter's age at Midway Airport today (5/29/18) who has brain cancer. They had just started talking and sharing stories about their brain cancer, when Wayne had to board his plane. I believe they were at gate A16. He thought they were getting on the same flight, so he didn't get her name. She was from Nebraska and was flying with her mom. Wayne is hoping to somehow connect with her so that he can encourage her along her brain cancer journey. Wayne has glioblastoma brain cancer and hopes to encourage her. Can you share this so that maybe we can find her? I know it's a long shot, but you never know. I already shared it on a brain cancer Facebook page that we belong to. I included his picture for reference."

God worked all the details out and we were able to be connected through a nurse. She reached out to Emily's mom and gave her our information. Looking back, it was only something God could do. 

Picture of Emily and her mom in Chicago right before they met Wayne at the airport                                            

Over the next 2+ years, we would meet up with Emily when she came to Chicago with her mom for treatments. We absolutely fell in love with Emily. 

Back in March, right before COVID hit, we were supposed to travel to Omaha to see Emily because we heard that her cancer was back after having surgery in July 2019. Unfortunately, because of COVID and all the unknowns, we canceled out trip to see her. 

On October 23, after his MRI, Wayne drove the kids to Nebraska to see Emily. I flew to Nebraska to meet them there and visit Emily. Emily's mom had reached out to us and told us that Emily was not doing well. We wanted to make sure we got to see her at least one more time. The trip was heartbreaking! I wouldn't trade that trip for anything, but it was so hard to see the once vibrant young lady, laid up and broken by brain cancer. All cancer is terrible, but brain cancer is just vicious. It slowly steals everything about the person away from them: their ability to walk, communicate, their personality...just everything. 

Last night around 11:30pm, Emily breathed her last breath here on earth. I had received a text earlier yesterday morning letting me know that the nurse told her about 2 days. Wayne and I shed many tears after that text. Waking up to that terrible text this morning broke my heart. I'm broken for the young life lost to brain cancer and also I'm broken for her family who was robbed of years with this beautiful young girl.  

Please join us in uplifting her family in prayer. Please also pray for our children as they process through this loss. Although they didn't know her really well, we have prayed for her since we met her and it strikes too close to home.


  1. How my heart goes out to all you Harders and Emily's family.

    This was a beautiful tribute for such a beautiful young lady. I'm so glad you all go to see her last month. What a blessing!!

    You all are in my prayers. God is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those crushed in spirit.

  2. My heart breaks for all of you... <3