Memorial services have been set for Saturday in Topeka for Parker Monhollon, the 9-year-old Kansas girl who died last week after spending more than a year fighting a cancerous tumor in her brain.
The location for the services – a 5,200-square-foot-ballroom – fits the outpouring of grief and support for Parker’s family, who invited the public to follow her 18-month battle on social media.
To honor Parker, a little girl who loved to dance, people have been asked to wear her favorite colors.
“Please DRESS-UP and wear BLACK or PURPLE to this event. Parker loved dressing up and would love to see all the black and purple!” says the announcement on the Parker Loves Life Facebook page, which has more than 65,000 followers.
Purple was the color of her bedroom at home in Silver Lake where Parker made a YouTube video to tell the world on Jan. 16, 2016 that she had cancer.
After she died, people around Silver Lake tied purple ribbons around trees and set up purple yard decorations at her home.
For more than a year, family, friends and strangers from far and wide followed Facebook for news about Parker, who had a brain tumor called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG.
She died on July 10 in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, where her family had taken her for special chemotherapy treatments. She would have turned 10 on July 26.
Her story galvanized her hometown, the local dance community and families across the country who have children with DIPG. The community of Silver Lake continues to throw fund-raisers to help the family with its medical bills. People outside of Kansas want to help, too.
Josey Baking Co., a Topeka bakery, is typically closed on Mondays but will open next Monday to sell cookies to raise money for the Monhollons. People in New York City and other places across the country have asked if the bakery can ship cookies out of state.
For such a little girl, Parker left a giant mark on the world beyond her purple bedroom.
The family’s request that mourners wear purple and black on Saturday have brought pledges to wear Parker’s colors from people in Canada, Greece, Australia, the United Kingdom, California, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Florida and other places.
Her memorial service begins at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Sunflower Ballroom at the Topeka Capitol Plaza Hotel, 1717 S.W. Topeka Blvd. A livestream is also planned, with pending details to be posted on the Parker Loves Life Facebook page.
The family will greet the public at a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Penwell-Gabel Southwest Chapel, 3700 S.W. Wanamaker Road in Topeka.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made at any Silver Lake Bank location or through PayPal. Information is at parkerloveslife.com.