Heartbreaking Photo Shows the Devastating Reality of Childhood Cancer

Just a few weeks ago, Braylynn Lawhon was like any typical 5-year old, brimming with excitement for Christmas. But Braylynn isn’t your typical 5-year old. On December 6, she was diagnosed with¬†Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG. DIPG is the most deadly form of brain cancer. There is no cure, and very few treatment options. The disease has a 0% survival rate. Her family mobilized immediately, and began raising funds for an experimental treatment in Mexico. Sadly, things took a turn for the worse, and Braylynn was placed in hospice. A photo of Braylynn with her grandfather has gone viral, showing the world the devastating realities of childhood cancer, and spreading awareness about this horrific disease.

Braylynn Lawhon went from a child tearing through wrapping paper on Christmas Eve, to fighting for her life in a matter of days.


Braylynn’s mother, Ally Parker, has been using her Facebook page to send out updates. On January 7, she posted an absolutely heartbreaking update. Almost a month to the day that Braylynn was diagnosed, the family was informed that it was time to say their final goodbyes. Her tumor had begun to bleed, and she was expected to pass away at any moment. In an especially awful twist, the family had announced days earlier that they’d raised enough money to get Braylynn to Mexico, where doctors are doing experimental treatments on kids with DIPG. The treatments are not covered by insurance, and each one costs around $17,000. However, Braylynn wouldn’t be making the trip.


Ally invited friends and family to the hospice center, to take as many pictures with and of Braylynn as possible. It was there that the heartbreaking photo of Braylynn and her grandfather was taken.


Sean Peterson is Ally’s father, and Braylynn’s grandfather. He has ALS, and can no longer speak. But the look of absolute anguish on his face says more than all the words in the world. It’s not right that children get sick. No parent, and certainly no grandparent, should ever have to prepare to say goodbye to their baby. And Ally will have to say goodbye to Braylynn, and likely one day soon, her father. Our hearts are shattered for this family.

Ally posted an update on Braylynn on January 13, and she’s still here. She’s still fighting.


We are sending all of our love to Braylynn, Ally, and the entire family. Keep fighting, baby girl. And fuck cancer.

(Image: Facebook/Braylynn’s Battalion)

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