A photo went viral recently, showing a young girl in a hospital bed, covered in tubes. A man is seen sitting next to her bed and crying out in anguish.
According to WTSP, Braylynn Lawhon seemed like a normal, healthy 5-year-old up until December 6, when she was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an aggressive brain tumor with no known cure.
Her Florida family, who raised money for experimental treatments in Mexico that cost $30,000 each, were hopeful. But last week, Lawhon’s condition worsened and her tumor started to bleed.
According to the Mirror, Lawhon is in hospice care and her family is preparing to say goodbye to her. But they’re also preparing for another loss.
The man in the viral photo is Lawhon’s grandfather, Sean Peterson. Tragically, Peterson is also suffering from a terminal illness, ALS, which is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. He lost his ability to speak, but his anguish is clearly communicated in the photo.
Lawhon’s mother, Ally Parker, started a Facebook page to post updates about her daughter’s condition.
She wrote regarding her father and daughter:
“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.”
Parker said she would not wish the pain she feels on anyone.
Today is the day … Today will be the worst day of my life so far, and in less than a week, I will have a day that is even more terrible. Today is the day that everyone will have to say their final goodbyes, to a FIVE year old. This should never happen to anyone. There is no one in this world who is evil enough to deserve to feel what I am currently feeling. My baby girl deserves to live a full, happy life, and so does every other child who has had to face DIPG.
Some commenters wondered why someone would take the now-viral photo.
Many of the people who responded that they understood why were mothers of children with cancer:
And this person seemed to give insight into families of a loved one dealing with ALS:
Parker is now mourning the eventual loss of her father and her daughter. Her raw emotion was conveyed through her posts.
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.