The Heartbreaking Reason Behind This Mom's Viral Back-To-School Photo

One British mom broke the internet's heart when she posted a photo of her daughter's first day of school last year next to the same photo a year later — but in this year's photo, her daughter is absent.

julie apicella facebook back to school photo
(Photo: Photo via Facebook/Julie Apicella)

Julie Apicella lost her daughter, Emily, to a rare kidney cancer called Wilms' Tumor last December.

In the post, which has now gone viral, Apicella wrote "School photo time — obviously someone very special missing – my daughter Emily. Imagine if your school photo this year is the LAST you will ever be able to take and will just be a memory to remember."

She told ABC News that Emily was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 when she was just 5 years old, and after relapsing in February 2014, she eventually succumbed to the disease on December 14, 2015. Apicella says she posted the photo for a reason:

"I created the post as a way to raise awareness. September is Childhood Cancer [Awareness] Month and [I'm asking] people to show their support by putting a 'Go Gold Ribbon' on their Facebook profile picture," the Norfolk, England, woman said.

>> Read more: Shannen Doherty Thanks Her Mom During Breast Cancer Battle In Emotional Instagram Post

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