ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (KTVU) - Filled with music, cheers and the chiming of bells, a special ceremony was held for a one year-old warrior who recently marked a very important milestone. It was a celebration fit for a hero.
All decked out in a Supergirl outfit, Emilie Meza held on to her father's hands last Wednesday as she was led down familiar halls of John Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Hospital staff awaited her arrival and then serenaded the little girl with a special send-off song marking the end of her chemotherapy treatment.
Then with help from dad, she rang a bell as part of the emotional ceremony.
"I couldn't keep it together. My tears were running down," Emilie's mother, Roxana Meza told KTVU.
For the Meza family, it's been a long journey since the little girl was diagnosed at nine months, with a blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukemia.
Her mother notes that during Emilie's short life, her baby has spent more time in the hospital than at home.
Emilie has undergone four rounds of chemotherapy as well as a bone marrow transplant.
Doctors were unable to find a perfect donor match for Emilie, but her father, Eduardo Meza, is a half match and ended up as her donor for the transplant surgery, which took place last June.
"It's such an amazing feeling because she's gone through so much... We've gone through so much. Seeing your baby not well, going into ICU, is so hard," said the child's mother.
For Emilie's mom, one of the hardest parts was when she had to hold her baby down so she could receive her treatment.
"She would be looking at me like, why are you doing this to me?" said Roxana.
But through it all, even though the one-year-old could not understand what was happening and why she was being pricked and prodded, she endured and kept those around her going with her positivity.
"Even in the bad moments, she always kept a smile on her face... She would keep trying to be happy," Roxana said.
While the family celebrates this milestone in her battle against cancer, the Mezas acknowledge there is much more ahead for their little fighter.
"One big step is behind us, now starting a new one," the family wrote in a Facebook page dedicated to Emilie.
Emilie and her mother will not be able to immediately return home, which is about an hour's drive away.
They have to remain in the area so the child can be near the hospital for follow-up appointments and just in case there are any complications that require immediate medical attention.
While she is no longer undergoing chemotherapy, she continues with treatment and is receiving other medication as well as getting 12 hours of fluids at night.
Emilie is the youngest of four children. Roxana said it's been hard to be away from her other children, who have had only one parent at home while the other stays with the baby at the hospital.
But they remain positive and hopeful as they move on to the next phase in the little girl's fight.
"We are excited to be able to give Emilie a little start to a semi normal toddler life," the family said.
The Mezas are also very thankful, thankful for the support they've received from so many, and thankful for their baby, whom they call, "Our super girl."
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help the Meza family with financial costs during Emilie's treatment.