(WGHP) — Emma Edwards was that kid others just seemed drawn to. Her parents say no one was more drawn to her than DJ Williams, her classmate at school.

“Emma was … the light. She’s always the best part of everything. She brought the fun with her,” her mother Alina said. “She made friends everywhere she went.”

“She loved to play,” her dad Aaron said.  “She never met a stranger. She wanted to play with every kid she met.”

One day Emma began feeling ill, and it didn’t stop. It went on for several days. She was throwing up constantly. Through the illness, Emma fell and hurt her knees.

“Because she had done that, we had them scan her leg, and they found the holes in her bones from the leukemia. It was already eating holes in her bones, but it hadn’t released into her bloodstream. So taking blood, they couldn’t tell,” Alina said.

She had treatments for the leukemia for about a year, but in June 2023, her health began to decline rapidly. Emma’s dream wasn’t anything like a trip to Disney. Emma’s dream was about being a mom and having a family. That’s when her friend DJ and his mom had an idea: Why don’t they get “married” and pledge their affection to each other while they can?

“We knew we didn’t have long,” Aaron said.

But they pulled it off. They put on a ceremony for Emma and DJ even if some thought it was a bit silly.

“Their love is legit,” Alina said. “People say, ‘Oh, puppy love. Young love.’ It’s still love.”

But two types of cancer simultaneously eating away at Emma’s young bones was too much. Emma died 12 days after the ceremony.

“[We] couldn’t walk her down the aisle because she was in too much pain,” Alina said.

“You’re supposed to walk her down the aisle when she’s an adult,” Aaron said. “You do what you can to make her happy. You always see families go through this stuff. You never think it can happen to you, but it can. You never know. It happened to us. We just thought our daughter was sick.”

“[Your life] can change in one minute,” Alina said.

They’re working to start a foundation in Emma’s memory that should be working soon. In the meantime, they reflect on the lessons it teaches.

“Love everyone,” Aaron said. “Nobody’s got to be a stranger because she’s never met a stranger. She was very strong. Even with all the treatment, she was strong.”