Pink Hearts Funds crowns cancer patient "princess"

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Her smile will melt your heart. And her courage would make the bravest man proud.

She's a five-year-old Gulfport girl who's battling brain cancer. And on the day after New Year's Day, this precious child became a princess.

She's a five-year-old bundle of energy and joy. And Timia Gilbert is in for a big surprise.

"Guess who's riding in there?," said a friend, as the chariot arrives at Gaston Point Elementary: A stretch Hummer limo, followed by presents.

"Do you want to get your presents now, or wait 'til later?"

Silly question for a five-year-old. "Get my presents now," was the quick reply.

Princess Timia and her entourage then piled into the luxurious limo.

The limo is headed for a royal luncheon at Winter Garden restaurant in Long Beach. Pink Heart Funds, a group that provides love and support for children with cancer, organized this day.

"Here comes Princess Timia!" was the musical greeting from a guitar playing duo who joined in the welcome.

The little girl with the million dollar smile reveled in the moment.

"Look what we have for you: Flowers and a princess crown."

Friends and photographers awaited her highness, who paused to greet her hosts.

"You want to come to me?" said the restaurant owner's wife.

"My name is Timia."

"Timia? That's beautiful. And look at those roses!"

JoAn Niceley represents Pink Heart Funds, the group that organized the party.

"I just met her the Friday before Christmas and fell in love with her. She's got quite a smile. She does. When she comes into a room, she lights up the whole room. She's precious," said Niceley.

"We now crown you princess," said Niceley, as she placed the crown on the youngster's head.

The royal fantasy belies a harsh reality: A five-year-old child battling brain cancer.

"Is fairly aggressive. And it's malignant. So, she had to go through chemo and radiation," said Tanya Gilbert, the mother of Timia.

But her little princess isn't one to complain.

"She's thriving. And she's happy. Yes, she's very happy today," said mom.

"She got to go to Disney World for Christmas, so she is living on cloud nine right now."

Smiling Timia says she learned to smile "at home".

She flashes that beautiful grin often. It's a bright smile from a brave little girl who's already faced so much, and will have to endure even more cancer treatments.

But Tamia Gilbert is a real sweetheart. And now, thanks to Pink Heart Funds, she's also a real princess.