Forewarned, this is going to be the saddest thing you read about—and see—all day. But it’s also going to be the most powerful story with the most emotionally resonant image you see all day. It’s a haunting reminder of how cancer is pure evil.
About a month ago, Gulf Breeze, Florida, four-year-old Braylynn Lawhon was a perfectly healthy little kid, looking forward to both the holidays and her fifth birthday. Then, she got sick—tragically so. Doctors diagnosed the now five-year-old Braylynn with a DIPG, or Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma, an aggressive and fatal tumor associated with brain cancer. It’s at the base of her brain and it’s difficult to remove, and Braylynn is one of about 300 young children diagnosed with a DIPG each year.
And just like that, Braylynn was placed into hospice care at a Pensacola hospital so she could be comfortable in her final days. That happens to be the same hospital where her grandfather, 49-year-old Sean Peterson, is living out the end of his life, too. In 2016, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) a progressive neurodegenerative disease that slowly kills off nerve cells, depriving the sufferer of their ability to move, eat, and breathe. Shortly after that diagnosis, Peterson learned that he also had bone marrow cancer.