PARK RIDGE, Ill. (WLS) --It was a story we all remembered. A little girl battling a rare disease. She loved horses so much that the Chicago Police Department's Mounted Unit paid a visit to the hospital shortly before she died.
Wednesday there was another "horse of honor" at Advocate Children's Hospital in Park Ridge. And it, too, was there because of little Kira.
The pictures were poignant yet upbeat: police horses coming to see Kira Mammoser just to make her feel better. It did. And now Kira's family is hoping to pay it forward with a painted horse which they presented to the hospital Wednesday.
"For the artist who painted this horse, I tell everybody, this is what Kira would have painted a horse. This is what a nine-year-old would paint a horse," said her father, Chuck Mammoser.
Actually it was one of the "horses of honor" painted for a Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty. This horse was in memory of CPD officer Eric Lee. The Mammosers' bought it and gave it to the hospital to honor Officer Lee and the say "thanks" for all they did for their little girl.
"We went through the worse thing you could ever do. We lost our child," said Cindy Mammoser. "While it wasn't the ending we wanted, she couldn't have been in a better place."
And kira's father, who is also a Chicago police officer, says the pony's upbeat appearance reminds him of a conversation he had with his daughter shortly before she passed away.
"She said I'm the luckiest kid in the world.' I thought about it at the time and I said, not really because she was on a ventilator and living on a machine. And I said 'You know you are because you recognize it,'" Chuck said.
A lesson to us all from a little girl and the horses she loved.
"In the three years that have passed our family has come to realize how important and how valuable time is. So I hope everybody else does," he said.
Everyone who attended the dedication ceremony was asked to bring art supplies for the children at the hospital because making pictures is what helped Kira in her final days there.