Teen’s Death Inspires Work a World Away

Family and friends of selfless high school senior keep her dreams alive

Mononucleosis — or mono — is a fairly common diagnosis, especially among teens or young people, and it can take a person down for months. It is rare, though, that we hear of someone dying as a result.

The shock and heartbreak isn’t lost on the family and friends of Emily Irene Dabrowski, a 17-year-old from Charlton, Massachusetts, who passed away earlier this month from the virus.

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Dabrowski was a senior at Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley, a community of just over 11,000. Family and friends say that while she was so young, she made a tremendous impact not only on her hometown, but on the world.

She had gone on several mission trips to Haiti. During her time there, Dabrowski was so moved by the children and people that she wrote in a journal it was her dream to one day open an orphanage.

Family and friends inspired by her passion for life and by her self-sacrifice are now working to pick up the pieces and fulfill that dream.

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“Emily’s life should be celebrated for the beauty, kindness, and humor she brought to all who knew her,” her obituary read in the Worcester Telegram. “She had a deep passion for the orphaned children of Haiti, where she volunteered annually … [It] was symbolic of her unselfish depth of character.”

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