Shannon O'Brien at event. Photo by Paul Thompson

Kathleen Edward was greeted with kindness, smiles and compassion on Oct. 23 at Elizabeth Park by more than 1,000 supporters at a rally in her honor.

Trenton Mayor Gerald Brown attended the event with his wife to show Kathleen support. “I’m amazed by the amount of attention this has received in such a short amount of time,” Brown said.  “Events like these create healing for the atrocity that this little girl had to suffer as a result of somebody else’s cruelness.”

Seven-year-old Kathleen Edward is in the final stages of a degenerative brain disorder diagnosed as “Huntington’s Disease” — the same disease that killed her mother, Laura Edward, when she was 24 years old.

Edward’s neighbors, Jennifer and Scott Petkov, had been posting derogatory photos of the young girl on Facebook, and also had placed a trailer with a coffin on it in front of their house. These actions plus other comments made by Jennifer Petkov on local television news broadcasts sparked an angry outcry that went viral on the Internet and resulted in coverage on national TV shows, such as Inside Edition.

The rally at Elizabeth Park was created to show Edward the outpouring of love and support she has from the community.

Event Organizer Michelle Yerigian expressed her thoughts on the turnout for the event: “The outreach has been amazing. This turnout has changed my attitude on the world and on the human race.”

“As I look around, I see smiles, tears and love. Pure love. I can’t quit smiling right now,” Yerigian said.

Judge Edward Nykiel also attended Kathleen’s rally.  “I came out today to show community support and hope for this little girl,” Nykiel said.

“We’re all together here to support Kathleen and show her how we are all behind her. We can create awareness through this event, as well as a higher level of understanding,” he said. “Today represents positivity, and hope for the future.”

Event volunteer Leann Bies also commented on the positivity of the rally. “Such a positive thing has come out of this,” Bies said. ”I’m just amazed by how many people have come together to support Kathleen.”

Music producer, Edward Kopper, traveled from Nashville to Trenton to attend the event for Kathleen.  Kopper explained how he was moved after he read the story of Kathleen’s torment, and it inspired him to attend the event to show Kathleen his support.

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