Family shares heartbreaking photo of dying girl to raise awareness of rare cancer

Posted at 9:00 AM, Jan 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-12 11:00:27-05

PENSACOLA, Fla. – It’s a photo that proves life can change in an instant.

A family in Pensacola, Florida has been documenting the cancer 5-year-old Braylynn Lawhorn has been battling for the past few weeks.

According to her mother’s Facebook page, just last month doctors diagnosed the little girl with a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma tumor. It’s a form of brain cancer that affects children between the ages of 5 and 10, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,

“DIPG is a monster,” Ally Parker wrote in one 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.”

The little girl is now on life support and not expected to live much longer, Parker said.

Parker shared a picture of her daughter on a ventilator in bed while the girl’s grandfather, Sean Peterson, 49, sobbed in a chair next to the bed.

Peterson has ALS and doesn’t have much longer to live himself, Parker said.

“These two are the strongest people I have ever known,” Parker wrote of her daughter and father. “Everyone related to us would agree. We all thought they would outlive the rest of us… and we certainly never thought that my precious little Braylynn would be the first to go.”

“In a few days I will have to bury this beautiful little girl,” Parker wrote. “Months, maybe even weeks, later, I will have to bury my father. Both of my heroes, gone, within the same year…”

There is a GoFundMe page set up for the family which has raised nearly $50,000.

Parker said some people are accusing the family of sharing Braylynn’s cancer battle for “attention.”

She said they are sharing it to raise awareness.

“People need to be aware of DIPG and how it affects children and their families,” Parker wrote in a post Thursday evening. “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 said.

“It may be too late to help my princess,” Parker wrote. “But it gives other kids a little more hope. Thank you.”