Wisconsin girl who inspired worldwide card drive for her last birthday dies at age 5

Delaney Krings, a 5-year-old from Pewaukee, Wisconsin, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in October 2022, has died.

Krings’ mom, Heather Krings, shared the news to the family’s CaringBridge page late Saturday, Jan. 28.

“Our Sweet Angel Baby has gained her wings,” Krings captioned an undated photo of her daughter smiling while climbing a tree. “Delaney Judith Krings. 12.16.2017 — 1.28.2023. Fly high, my sweet baby.”

Krings tells TODAY.com that the best way to remember Delaney is to “be kind.”

“Pay some kindness forward in her name,” Krings says.

The mom of three says the outpouring of love the family has received is symbolic of the love Delaney has left behind.

“Please know in your heart she’s sharing a little bit of her love with you now, too, in the hopes that it helps you find light when it’s dark, and find the love when you’re sad,” Krings tells TODAY.com.

On Oct. 31, 2022, Delaney, then 4, was diagnosed with Diffuse Midline Glioma. Doctors at Children’s Wisconsin hospital in Milwaukee told her parents she likely had six to eight weeks to live.

The family’s goal was simple: Celebrate Delaney’s 5th birthday on Dec. 16.

When friends found out about Delaney’s diagnosis, one suggested a card drive to celebrate Delaney’s big birthday. The news spread quickly throughout their community — and then across the nation. Thousands of cards made their way to Wisconsin from around the world, including from research scientists in Antartica.

“It’s a little overwhelming. She’s got so much love pouring in,” Krings told TODAY.com at the time, adding that little Delaney had even gotten a virtual greeting from JJ Watt.

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When Dec. 16 rolled around, thousands participated in a birthday parade for Delaney’s final birthday.

“I’m just happy she gets to enjoy her birthday,” Delaney’s dad, Jack Krings, told NBC News affiliate TMJ4 News in Milwaukee. “There’s no way to thank everybody, but, from the bottom of our hearts we appreciate everything.”