Mom Ally Parker recently captured an unforgettable, heartbreaking moment between her 5-year-old daughter and her own father and shared it on Facebook, as Dearly previously reported.
The image quickly captured the nation’s attention and that attention only spread wider when PIX11 shared the gut-wrenching photo.
The picture shows little Braylynn Lawhorn hooked up to a ventilator with her grandfather, Sean Peterson, sobbing in the chair next to her:
Parker and her family have had to watch the 5-year-old girl and her grandpa fight for their lives at the same time.
Braylynn was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma tumor that mainly affects children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.
The tumor is a form of brain cancer that begins in the brain stem — which controls breathing and heart rate — as well as the nerves and muscles that help people see, hear, walk, talk and eat, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Parker’s father is also waging a battle of his own; he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
ALS begins with weakness in a limb, muscle twitching or slurred speech. Eventually, the disease takes control of the muscles needed to move, speak, eat, and breathe. There is currently no cure for the disease.
As a mom and daughter, Parker has sat helplessly watching Braylynn and Peterson both inch closer to death. In a Facebook post, she poured out her emotions about her two “heroes”:
These two are the strongest people I have ever known. Everyone related to us would agree. We all thought that they would outlive the rest of us…and we certainly never thought that my precious little Braylynn would be the first to go.
Last year was hard for us, but I can’t even begin to explain how difficult this year will be and has already been. In a few days I will have to bury this beautiful little girl. Months, maybe even weeks, later, I will have to bury my father. Both of my heroes, gone, within the same year…
How could this happen to us? What did any of us do to deserve THIS? Why do they have to leave us? What are we supposed to do? I refuse to believe that there is a reason for this. This world is a terrible place.
Sadly, the loss she knew was coming has happened, Fox8 reports. Braylynn’s battle against brain cancer has ended:
On a support page, Braylynn’s Battalion, an admin wrote:
And though she be but little, she is fierce.
Our sweet Braylynn, our warrior princess, earned her sparkly pink angel wings this evening.
Her nickname was Princess Bel and she could light up any room.
She loved Hello Kitty and her birthday was December 10.
She was a princess with the strength of a warrior and she will NEVER be forgotten.
We need this cruel disease called DIPG to stop taking our children away from us!
The family learned last December that the 5-year-old could live for a year after being diagnosed with brain cancer. But complications quickly placed her in hospice care earlier in January.Shawnon Peterson/GoFundMe
A friend set up a GoFundMe page to help the family handle their mounting medical bills and the cost of their daughter’s funeral.
Watch more on the family’s story below: