In December of 2017, 5-year-old Braylynn Lawhon was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) tumor, a deadly form of brain cancer. DIPGs tumors are aggressive and difficult to treat, which left doctors telling Braylynn’s family to prepare for the worst.
That wasn’t the only tragedy the family is dealing with, either. Braylynn’s grandfather, 49-year-old Sean Peterson, suffers from bone marrow cancer and ALS. He can’t speak or feed himself, but when he was brought to his granddaughter’s bedside, it was clear that his mind is still present.
While Braylynn was in hospice, she became unresponsive. She was hooked up to multiple machines which were helping to keep her alive. Beth Peterson-Hickman, Braylynn’s grandmother and Peterson’s ex-wife, brought the loving grandfather to see the little girl, and the image of the two instantly went viral.
“They wheeled him in to see Braylynn. He can no longer speak, he can’t move his hands and he has a feeding tube,” Peterson-Hickman said. “When he saw her, he was crying and it was heart-wrenching. I broke down and I had to turn around. He just startled falling apart.”
“He does not deserve this. He, like me, we’re supposed to watch our grandkids grow up and make us great-grandparents,” Peterson-Hickman said.
The photo broke the hearts of millions of people, and the latest update from the family has made it even worse.