Remembering Presley: Bismarck mom organizes toy drive in daughter’s memory

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 1:08 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Sometimes, life doesn’t go as expected.

Emily Lang will be the first to tell you that. She didn’t expect to get pregnant in high school. And she didn’t expect to bury her daughter before her first birthday. She also didn’t those experiences to inspire her to help others.

But that’s the good news in this sad story.

Lang is now using her grief to help others and to heal from her loss.

Emily Lang’s phone is filled with photos and videos of her daughter, Presley. They are precious memories of a life taken too soon.

“She was the happiest baby ever,” recalled Lang.

Presley was born with a rare genetic disorder and spent much of her life in the hospital.

“Presley got sick a lot,” Lang explained. “She was in the hospital at least five times, and then she got RSV and rhinovirus. She unfortunately passed away on Oct. 26.”

Presley was 11 months old.

Lang has been an open book about it all.

“I was a teen mom,” she said. “I got pregnant my senior year in high school. I was not ready to be a mom. But when God brought me this baby, she changed my life.”

She’s shared about being a teen mom, and about losing a child.

“We can help others by spreading our story,” she stated.

She started a Facebook page, Prayers for Presley, to keep friends and family updated during Presley’s last hospital stay. She never expected the page would go viral.

“Her story is shared all over the world now,” Lang said.

Now, she’s is using that page and her daughter’s story to help others. Just days after Presley’s death, Lang posted about a toy drive she wanted to organize in honor of Presley.

“I think it got 150 shares within minutes,” she said.

Steven Schaffner was one of the people who saw that post.

“It really struck me,” he said.

Schaffner is the regional coordinator for Pilots for Kids, a volunteer effort to deliver toys to kids at Christmas.

“I knew we had this the same goal and it’s usually a better effort to get everybody on the same page and donate as much as we can,” Schaffner explained.

Together, they plan to deliver toys to kids in hospitals across the state, and maybe even to kids in homeless shelters and on the reservation.

“We want to give them something to bring a little cheer to their season,” Schaffner added.

All in honor of Presley.

If you’d like to help, you can drop off toys at Inspire Family Church, Hebron Brick and Zander Body Shop.

You can learn more, and make a monetary donation, at or search ‘Pilots for Kids Bismarck’ on Facebook.

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