Family shares photo of terminally ill child to raise awareness of rare cancer

(WSVN) - A photo shared on Facebook of a young girl in a hospital bed while her grandfather weeps right next to her is now going viral.

The family of 5-year-old Braylynn Lawhorn shared the photo in an effort to raise awareness of the deadly Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma tumor. According to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the tumor starts in the brain stem and usually affects children between the ages of 5 and 10.

Experts say the tumor also has a low survival rate.

“DIPG is a monster,” said Braylynn’s mother Ally Parker in a Facebook Post. “It seems as if it targets the people who have the most to lose, who are supposed to be the happiest, but also the people who are strong enough to deal with this gracefully and courageously.”

According to a GoFundMe page for the family, Braylynn was diagnosed with the tumor on Dec. 7 and was given about a year to live. However, the family said on Jan. 4 Braylynn went to the hospital feeling congested. A few days later she was placed in hospice care, unconscious and unresponsive.

The family said they will leave Braylynn on a ventilator until they are able to make proper funeral arrangements. They hope that by sharing a photo and showing their struggle with the disease, they can increase awareness of the illness.

The photo shows Braylynn in a hospital bed as her grandfather cries in a chair nearby. The grandfather has also been diagnosed with ALS and doesn’t have much longer to live.

“People need to be aware of DIPG and how it affects children and their families,” Parker wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s still considered rare, but it’s considered the most deadly form of childhood cancer in the world. Braylynn was diagnosed last month… and we’ve already almost lost her.”

“Someone needs to find a successful treatment for this so our kids stop dying,” Parker added. “It may be too late to help my princess, but it gives other kids a little more hope.”

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