When she was 13, she lost her friend to leukemia. Now, she’s honoring the girl’s legacy in the most touching way.

Reilly Cardella, creator of Love for Ladybug nonprofit organization. (Reilly Cardella.)

In 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic had spread and people were hunkered down, we all likely thought about things we could do to keep busy or entertain ourselves. That was no different for Reilly Cardella.

Cardella, however, went beyond baking projects or growing a garden, and instead set her sights on something much bigger: a nonprofit for children battling cancer.

To understand where that desire came from, you’d have to know what happened earlier in her life that gave her a reason to be passionate about childhood cancer.

Meeting and losing Kassie

Cardella, who is now 22 and resides in Central Florida, met Kassie Wingerd when they were young girls.

During their friendship, Cardella learned that Kassie had leukemia.

The was very close for two years, and then, “She passed away in 2011. I was 13,” Cardella said.

The death left a mark on Cardella.


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