Wadena loses 'Princess Warrior' Jane Fiemeyer
Wadena's 8-year-old "Princess Warrior" Jane Fiemeyer had her last battle with leukemia Thursday.
"It is with great sadness that the family of Jane Fiemeyer lets you know that today the world has gained an angel to watch over us all. Approximately 11:30 a.m., Jane passed from this world and has gone to heaven to be with the rest of the angels to watch out for and protect those that she loves," said a press release sent on the family's behalf.
"Jane leaves behind many, many loved ones - friends, family and complete strangers - who have all been touched and inspired by her spirit and strength. Her legacy lives on and will continue to live on long after her passing.
"The family thanks everyone for their kind thoughts, words and prayers through this very long and difficult journey. It has been and continues to be a very difficult time, and your friendships are all cherished."
Jane was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2011 and underwent cancer treatments in the following months.
During Fiemeyer's last days, a grassroots social media campaign formed to try to make the Wadena third grader's wish come true: meeting Big Time Rush, a Nickelodeon band popular with kids.
The effort to catch the attention of the band succeeded, and Jane survived to know the band made contact with her even though she did not get to meet them.
The Twitter page of actor Kevin G. Schmidt, an older brother of one of the band members, announced Wednesday, "Beautiful Jane Fiemeyer, a birdy told me for you to look out for a message from @bigtimerush tomorrow. :) Xo Warrior Princess, Kevin."
Fiemeyer passed away before a planned Skype session with the band or a chance to meet them in person.
However, Lisa Reddick, speaking on behalf of the Fiemeyer family, said Jane was able to watch a video Big Time Rush made especially for her early Thursday.
Reddick and Jane Fiemeyer's mother, Jil Fiemeyer, are lifelong friends, and Reddick has known Jane all her life.
Early Monday morning, Jil announced on Jane's Caringbridge site that medical experts had exhausted all options for treatment, and Jane was going home for hospice. Jane was discharged Wednesday from the Children's Hospital in Minneapolis and returned home with her family.
Mary Jo Lindquist of rural Wadena was one of Jane's many supporters rallying to get the Big Time Rush to meet Jane.
Lindquist said on the first day of school Tuesday, her daughter and third graders were informed about Jane's wish.
It was not the first time the community came together for Jane. A benefit for her was held in April at the Wadena Elks Lodge.
Called a "Princess Warrior" by family and supporters, Jane made colorful duct tape wallets to raise money to find a cure for children's cancer and managed to raise more than $900.
For months previous, Jane's friends and the parents of her friends also joined Jane's cause to stop childhood cancer.
Jane and one of her best friends, T.J. Jasicki, designed "Team Jane" shirts printed by Greiman's and distributed at S.T.O.M.P. MMA and Fitness. Jane and T.J.'s handwriting adorned the front and back of the shirts, respectively, with the slogans "Team Jane" and "Be Positive Keeping Faith."
Joe Jasicki, T.J.'s dad and owner of S.T.O.M.P. MMA, said the funds raised by the shirts helped with Jane's care in the hospital - along with being able to enjoy the last months of her life.
"There was extra money for them to have Jane go out to eat or see a movie or just to do something nice, instead of sitting around in the hospital," Joe said.
Stacy Jasicki and Jil wanted to do something and had their kids design the shirts, Joe said.
"Team Jane" kids got involved with cancer research fundraising and activism during the summer, running an Alex's Lemonade Stand during the MS TRAM event in July and helping with the dove release event during Relay for Life in August.
Joe said T.J. got to visit Jane in the hospital at times, and they were able to pull him out of school early on Wednesday so the friends could hang out while they could.
"We were really good friends. We talked a lot," T.J. said. "We had a really good talk together."
Joe said "Team Jane" shirt fundraising efforts would continue, in honor of Jane's efforts, with proceeds to go to the same foundation Jane donated to.
"It's just something that she believed in and obviously was really close to her heart," Joe said. "How long is it until the next local Wadena kid comes up with something like this? Let's try to find a cure for this."
Reddick also said Jane was brave and unique.
"Jane has so much strength and courage in all of this, and has inspired so many people across the country," Reddick said Thursday morning. "It's pretty dang amazing."