The amazing and heartwarming saga of the pink R2-KT droid

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012, 3:16 PM EST

Sci-fi and fantasy tales of triumph have inspired many of us for decades, but for one little girl, Star Wars grew to mean so much more—and inspired an original R2 droid in the process.

In 2004, Katie Johnson was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 6.

After five months of chemotherapy, Katie's dad Albin had an idea, after Katie thought she spotted R2-D2 in the stained glass window of a church: Why not build his daughter her very own R2 unit to keep an eye on her, a la the original R2 in Star Wars: Episode II?

So, Katie's extremely handy pops--who has some serious Star Wars cosplay chops--went to work, and even got in touch with the R2 Builders Club when he needed some help.

Katie's condition started to go downhill before work was finished, so the team rallied. The fruit of their labor was the hot pink R2-KT, affectionately named after the young Star Wars fan who inspired it.

The custom droid kept Katie company for the next few months as she continued to fight, until she sadly passed away in August 2005.

But her legacy lives on, and R2-KT continues to make the rounds to children's hospitals and events around the nation, becoming a source of encouragement for others who are still battling.

R.I.P., Katie, and thanks so much for inspiring one of the coolest—and kindest—droids in the galaxy.

(via The Mary Sue)