Like many children, Claire Lankford, 5, of Dickinson, Texas, adores princesses. But few have experienced the surprise she got this week, when a princess parade in her honor brought hundreds of supporters out in royal proportion.
Lankford, who has a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma, which has no cure, has been undergoing treatment for more than a year, reports Houston's KTRK News, and family friend Jamie Harbuck thought it was something that could be "special for her."
"It's just heartwarming to know that our community can come together for a little girl," Harbuck told KTRK about putting together Lankford's Princess for a Day celebration.
Wednesday's parade was complete with a marching band and supporters dressed up as Disney stars Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Belle from Beauty and the Beast. A local bridal shop provided a special princess dress for the little girl, who rode in a horse-drawn carriage with her mother, Patricia, dressed as a princess and her father, Kevin, dressed as Prince Charming.
The Lankfords took several laps in the carriage because Claire was having so much fun – a welcome change to how she has felt.
"I haven't been feeling good," Claire told KHOU News in Houston about her cancer battle. "I have tubes in my sides. And I had my hair in a knot. But they gave me shots, and they have to give me some medicine. They were trying to just make me feel better, but it really hurt."
Her family told the station they are cherishing every moment they have left with their little girl.
"It's not about the clothes you wear or the house that you live in," her mom Patricia Lankford told KHOU. "It's the simple memories that you take time to make. She's an absolute gift."