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Girl Whose Bond With Garbage Men Inspired Millions Now Cancer-Free

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Rose Evenson and her sisters captured the attention and hearts of millions when their bond with their garbage men went viral last year.

That's when Rose's parents shared her stage-four cancer diagnosis with our Jennifer Mayerle: A journey of doctor's appointments, setbacks and small victories.

Garbage Truck Workers Surprise Family Christmas

These kids waved to the garbage men every day, and the garbage men waved back. But when these workers heard the family's story, they knew they had to do something to give back...

Posted by WCCO-TV | CBS Minnesota on Monday, December 26, 2016

Now, Rose has made a milestone.

"I often just think I'm so grateful to see them together, and having so much fun together," Rose's mother Angie said.

All four kids -- Grace, Rose, Sophia and Lincoln -- love their new swing set. It arrived this fall when Make-A-Wish granted 4-year-old Rose's wish.

(credit: CBS)

"Her wish was a huge swing set with four swings and two slides," her father Aaron said. "She wanted all the siblings to each have a swing."

Doctors diagnosed Rosie with stage four kidney and lung cancer in September 2016. The year-long journey felt endless, but faith and friends have helped ease the worry.

"At the end of the day, that was all we had to hold onto was those two things -- support of people and our faith in Christ," Aaron said.

It was during that time the Evensons bonded with the men who pick up their garbage, from afar. The girls raced to the window weekly to wave.

The guys looked forward to those smiling faces. When they later learned of Rose's diagnosis, they offered the family complimentary garbage service -- their way to lighten the load.

It was a simple act of kindness that was both unexpected and overwhelming.

"I started crying," Angie said. "It was only a few weeks out from the diagnosis."

For the first time since hearing the word cancer in the same sentence as their daughter's name, doctors added another word this summer -- free.

"'No evidence of disease,' is what they call it. The tumors in her lungs were all gone and in her abdomen," Angie said.

"You're so excited inside, but you're cautiously optimistic, I guess," Aaron said.

rose evenson
(credit: CBS)

The words "cancer-free" ended the year of quarantine and allowed the Evensons to return to family time outside.

"I think just trying to get back to normal, whatever that is," Aaron said.

Rose can still spot the garbage truck rounding the corner -- this time, from a new perch.

It's these moments -- the ones when they're all together -- that they prayed for.

"The laughter, you know, and it's sweet music to our ears -- the laughter," Aaron said.

"After a lot of tears, it's what we live for, now, to hear that now," Angie said.

Rosie has scans every three months and will for years to come. The Evensons say if this type of cancer comes back, it's usually within two years. So while they rejoice in Rosie's health now, they are very aware of the road ahead.

Millions took an interest in the Evenson's journey after our original story aired last year.

For the latest on Rose's condition and updates from the family, you can follow the "Pray For Rosie" Facebook page.

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