Leesburg cancer survivor Gabriella Miller, 10, is Loudoun County’s volunteer of year

Gabriella Miller and her mother, Ellyn Miller, surrounded by some of the 241,000 letters to Santa that her story inspired. (Courtesy of Miller family)
Gabriella Miller and her mother, Ellyn Miller, surrounded by some of the 241,000 letters to Santa that her story inspired. (Courtesy of Miller family)

During the last Christmas season, we began following the story of Gabriella Miller, a nine-year-old Leesburg girl with an inoperable brain tumor. She had applied for a trip to Paris through the Make-A-Wish foundation, and wanted to help raise money so more children could go.

Gabriella and her parents, Ellyn and Mark Miller, hoped to convince 10,000 people to write letters to Santa Claus through Macy’s, which had pledged to donate $1 million to Make-A-Wish if they received a million letters. Gabriella’s story inspired more than 241,000 letters to Santa, enough to send 36 children on Make-A-Wish trips.

And now, The Post’s Caitlin Gibson reports, Gabriella’s tumor is shrinking. She turned 10 in January, and can see clearly again. And at last week’s Loudoun Board of Supervisors meeting, she announced, “Hello, I’m Gabriella Miller, I’m 10 years old, and I have brain cancer.” The supervisors then recognized her as Loudoun County’s Volunteer of the Year, after everyone in the board room gave her a standing ovation.

The fourth-grader from Loudoun Country Day School is in Paris now. You can follow along on her Facebook page here. But she’s going to keep working to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. You can read the full details here. Gibson’s original story about Gabriella is here.

 

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.
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Tom Jackman | May 21, 2013