Life Connected

Lilly's Dress: The Story of a Little Girl Who Beat the Odds

Four-year-old Lilly Bumpus was born with a rare form of cancer, beginning treatment at just three months old.

“Her ‘lets try this’ was 75 percent adult strength chemo, 14 rounds of it, five different chemos, 8 surgeries,” her mother Trisha Anderson said.

Anderson recounted Lilly’s excruciating treatment process on Facebook.

“She never had hair to lose. Her beautiful eyelashes were the one thing to ever represent her to look like me and watching those fall out one by one were like pieces of my heart falling out one by one,” Lilly’s mother said fighting back tears.

And that’s where bridal designer Stella Gilbert first saw Lilly’s story.

Four years ago, these ladies were all in San Luis Obispo. It was only recently, Gilbert realized Lilly and her mother were now in the Inland Empire like her.

She reached out to Anderson and invited them over to her home just before Christmas to see a design that the bridal designer had created in the little girl’s honor – a flower girl dress named Lilly.

The dress is a collaboration of company Stella Ann and designer Stella Gilbert and designer Michelle Hebert. 

"All she ever fights for every day is to be a child, a normal child, to feel things we all take for granted, to feel beautiful and wanted and loved for exactly who she is in that moment and that dress does it for her,” Anderson said.

For Gilbert, it reminds her of overcoming the struggles she had as a young mother. Her first born had a heart condition.

“With her and I, I think I connected with her, her pain, reading her posts daily in my heart she has become everybody's baby,” Gilbert said.

These two mothers are now connected for life.

Gilbert has offered to go to the doctor’s appointments and offered up her home for holiday celebrations.

“I feel like it’s another daughter and granddaughter. I love them. They are in my heart,” she said.

Lilly, who is now cancer free, must still do physical therapy and other treatments. But, she is braving whatever comes her way.

“Her beauty is worth fighting for,” Anderson said.

A portion of the proceeds from each “Lilly” dress goes back to the mother and daughter to continue their fight.

Lilly and her mother go to the hospital for treatment three to four days a week. Driving from the Inland Empire to Los Angeles for doctor’s visits is Anderson’s full-time job.

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