A gut-wrenching photo emerged on social media on Sunday, uploaded by Allyson Parker, a mother whose daughter is suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer. In the image, the woman’s father can be seen wailing while seated to 5-year-old Braylynn Lawhon’s hospital bed. Braylynn was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a form of cancer with no known cure.
Parker, who lives in Pensacola, Florida, shared the image on Facebook, showing the level of devastation cancer can cause in a family. Parker’s father, Sean, who is seen in the photo, is also terminally ill, suffering from a neurological disease.
It is expected that both Braylynn and Sean will pass away in the coming weeks or months.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, Braylynn’s condition has deteriorated quickly since the diagnosis was made on December 6. Parker shared the heartbreaking image on Facebook in the hope of raising awareness.
“We all thought that they would outlive the rest of us,” said Parker, “and we certainly never thought that my precious little Braylynn would be the first to go.”
“Last year was hard for us,” she continued,” but I can’t even begin to explain how difficult this year will be and has already been.”
Parker went on to say, “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,” said Parker. “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.”
The family has one last glimmer of hope in the form of an experimental treatment available in Mexico, which is not covered by insurance. A GoFundMe page was started to help raise funds for the procedure, which costs $30,000 per round, and multiple rounds would be required based on the nature of the cancer.
Parker has also started a Facebook page, Braylynn’s Battalion, to raise awareness and funding for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
A post by Parker said, “My baby girl deserves to live a full, happy life, and so does every other child who has had to face DIPG.”
She continues, “We have to put an end to this. No more kids can get this disease and be allowed to die from it. We HAVE to find a cure, not a damn band aid. These kids deserve so much more than that, someday soon someone needs to find out what that cure is.”