Alabaster girl, 11, passes away after battle with leukemia

11-year-old Alabaster resident Emily Skelding passed away on Aug. 25 after battling leukemia. (File)

11-year-old Alabaster resident Emily Skelding passed away on Aug. 25 after battling leukemia. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

An 11-year-old Alabaster resident who worked to help other children at the same time she was battling leukemia died on Aug. 25 surrounded by her family and loved ones.

Funeral services for Emily Sarah “Sunshine” Skelding are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 29 at Westwood Baptist Church in Alabaster at 11 a.m. Skelding’s family will receive friends at the church during the two hours leading up to the service.

Following the service, Skelding will be buried at the Oak Grove Church of God Cemetery in Clanton.

Emily was preceded in death by her grandfather, Jesse Cranford.

Her survivors include her loving parents, Brian and Michele Skelding of Alabaster; sisters, Andrea and Meagan Skelding, both of Alabaster; brother, Brennan Skelding of Alabaster; grandparents, William and Catherine Skelding of Illinois and Faye Cranford of Florida; a host of aunts, uncles and cousins; and other family members and friends.

When she was 8, Skelding’s first book, “Picnic Pals,” was published. All money raised through the sale of the book benefited the Child Cry organization, which helps feed hungry children all over the world.

Skelding’s second book, “Good Friends,” will be published soon. In lieu of flowers, Skelding’s family is requesting donations to be made to Child Cry.

Skelding’s selfless attitude during her battle with the disease drew praise from local organizations such as Nonni’s Hope, which helps families of children battling leukemia.

After hearing about Skelding’s books, Nonni’s Hope co-founder Chrissy Walsh decided to help the Skelding family with costs related to Emily Skelding’s treatment.

On Sept. 22, Nonni’s Hope is scheduled to hold a blood and bone marrow drive at Westwood Baptist Church to benefit children battling leukemia from 12.30-5:30 p.m.