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Mother touched by Virginia Rose’s story, wants to continue raising awareness for childhood cancer

Posted at 11:21 PM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-29 23:21:13-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Virginia Rose, the four-year-old girl from Chesterfield who captured hearts around the nation and brought a community together, passed away Tuesday morning after fighting a battle with cancer.

In April, Virginia Rose, was diagnosed with the cancer Refractory Acute Myeloid Leukemia with Monosomy 7. Neighbors in Virginia Rose’s Chesterfield community joined the child’s parents to help her celebrate Christmas every weekend over the past few weeks.

Virginia Rose and parents

Virginia Rose and parents

Kelley Kassay knows all too well the pain the Vandermark family is feeling. She lost her son, Mason to cancer over four years ago.

"I don't think anyone can prepare for the death of a child," said Kelley Kassay.

Earlier this month, Kassay was able to meet little Virginia Rose for the first time.

Kelley Kassay with Vandermark family

Kelley Kassay with Vandermark family

"The story just hit home for me," she said.

Since her son's death, she's started Mason's Tox Box, which is a group that collects toys for sick children.

"That was a moment of joy for her and I know that her giggles and her smiles were just memories that her parents need," she said, "they need that, especially now."

Through these efforts, she and others were able to provide generous gifts to the Vandermark family, including a new car.

Kelley Kassay and her son Mason

Kelley Kassay and her son Mason

The Vandermark family has also started a foundation in honor of Virginia Rose.

Kassay said through Mason's Toy Box, she is looking forward to helping them in finding a cure for childhood cancer.

"The funding for research is crucial to save these children to prevent what's happened to my son and what's happened to so many others and Virginia Rose today," said Kassay.