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A celebration of life for Jillian Harlow

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 10:58 PM EDT
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BELPRE, Ohio. (WTAP) -

On April 2, the Harlow family, along with their closest friends and family, gathered to celebrate the life of Jillian Harlow. The service was held at Leavitt Funeral Home in Belpre.

Three-year-old Jillian Harlow passed away peacefully on March 27, 2021, after her journey with a prenatal congenital heart disorder ended.

Six months ago, Jillian was given a terminal diagnosis, but her family started this journey even before her birth, posting their story on Facebook. Within weeks, the page gained a following of 23,000 people.

If you knew Jillian, you knew that she loved the movie Frozen, so some special guests from the movie came out to celebrate her life, including a performance from Elsa herself.

According to Michael Harlow, Jillian’s father, she loved being Elsa and dressing up like her. He said throughout this past winter every time snow would come she would say she used her Elsa powers and say she was making it snow.

Even in the worst of times, Harlow said Jillian was the kind of girl who had a way of putting a smile on your face. He says she did not lose her battle with C-H-D, she beat it with how she lived her life.

“It means everything you always hear at the end, I’m sorry for your loss, and that she lost her battle with C-H-D. C-H-D is what took her from us, she didn’t lose that battle,” Harlow said. “She gave it her everything. She fought continually. She lived her life to the fullest and I feel that she has changed the lives of thousands of people and in such a world of divide right now she was able to bring people together and the way she lived her life, she beat it, she won.”

Lee Barnhart, the chaplain for Shriver’s Hospice, has known the Harlow family for six months and led Jillian’s service by including words from Jillian’s favorite songs from Frozen.

Barnhardt said that he would describe Jillian as infectious. He said she would only trust you once she got to know you, and once that trust was built, you were in.

“I remember a story, uh one time I had come to the house and she would greet me at the door but this time, she would greet me at the door and call me Pastor Lee, and I think that was the same day that she scooted over on the couch and said ‘on the couch’ and she pointed and said ‘Pastor Lee sit’.”

Harlow said the support from the community has been overwhelming and couldn’t thank everyone enough for the support. This includes his co-workers from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, along with other stations around the area, as they led the funeral procession after the service from Belpre to Jillian’s final resting place in Beverly.

“The community surrounded our family, you know talking to the grandparents and cousins and everything, so our family couldn’t have made it through this and we have hope that we will be able to get through this eventually someday.”

Harlow said Jillian taught him what unconditional love was and even when you’re not feeling your best to keep pushing forward because there is always that light at the end of the tunnel. There was also one more thing Jillian taught her father.

“In her short amount of time, don’t take things for granted, if you feel like eating a bag of popcorn, eat it, if you want to go on vacation, do it. If you want to go outside and just be crazy and jump in muddy puddles, go jump in the muddy puddle don’t have a care about anything.”

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