WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - After a life spent beating the odds and touching countless people, doctors say 25-year-old Cheraque Martin doesn't have much longer to live.
"So many people complain about small things - I lost my job, I can't get a new car, I have to pay bills. Cheraque doesn't complain at all," her mom, Denise Martin Brown, said Friday night at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Born at 22 weeks, Cheraque fought illness after illness her entire life, including heart and lung problems as well as cerebral palsy. At age 15, back in 2009, doctors said she wouldn't live through the summer.
That's when the Make-A-Wish Foundation stepped in. At the Park Hyatt Hotel, Cheraque became a celebrity for the day, from the red carpet to the paparazzi to the dance floor.
"My child wakes up with a smile every day," Martin Brown said back then. "There's not a day that goes by she doesn't wake up with a smile."
All these years later, Martin Brown said not much has changed. Cheraque still smiles and laughs constantly, her mom said, despite being confined to a hospital bed in failing health.
"When they say that this is the end, nothing else they can do, you can never prepare for something like that," Martin Brown said Friday, adding that she's beyond grateful for what her daughter did for her - and so many others.
After that party back in 2009, as the years went by, Cheraque became an inspiration of sorts to other people who were also battling life threatening illnesses. They'd come by and see her or they'd call her every chance they got, as if they girl who wanted nothing more than to be a celebrity actually became one all on her own.
"She had a purpose. You know her purpose was I guess like to touch people, to help heal people, share her story," her mom said. "She kept saying it's not over until God says it's over, and I'm not giving up. I'm not giving up."