5-year-old brave cancer-stricken girl pictured in viral photo with grandfather dies

Braylynn was diagnosed with DIPG a month ago, and the disease deteriorated her health at a rapid pace. After a hard fought battle, she passed away this Monday.

The terminally-ill girl pictured alongside her distraught grandfather that tugged at the internet’s heartstrings and had the whole world praying for her recovery has passed away, her family has announced. Braylynn Lawhon was just 5-years-old and succumbed to Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a deadly form of brain cancer that has no cure.

Taking to Braylynn’s Facebook page, set up in her name to raise awareness of about the disease and her plight, her mother Ally Parker announced that their princess had taken her last breath. An emotionally charged post went: “And though she be but little, she is fierce.”

“Her nickname was Princess Bel and she could light up any room. She loved Hello Kitty and her birthday was December 10. She was a princess with the strength of a warrior and she will NEVER be forgotten. We need this cruel disease called DIPG to stop taking our children away from us!”

Unfortunately for her family, Braylynn’s death may not even be the last they have to cope with. Her grandfather Sean Peterson, whose pained expression in the photograph punctuated the family’s pain, is also terminally ill as he is suffering from motor-neuron disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Reports from various media sources also claimed that Peterson was also suffering from bone marrow cancer, a speculation that Parker herself dismissed as hogwash. She wrote on Facebook: “I was just informed that it was posted somewhere publicly that my father has a type of bone marrow cancer.”

“I don’t know where this information came from but it is NOT true. I haven’t seen this posted, but whatever it is, it’s WRONG. Please remember that not all of the information that has been posted about my family is correct. My updates are the only source of 100% true information.”

While cancer may not claim her father’s life, it most certainly looks like the ALS will. Accompanied by a picture of grandfather and granddaughter, she wrote: “These two are the strongest people I have ever known. Everyone related to us would agree. We all thought that they would outlive the rest of us…and we certainly never thought that my precious little Braylynn would be the first to go.”

“Last year was hard for us, but I can’t even begin to explain how difficult this year will be and has already been. 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…”

“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.”

Parker’s recent updates about her daughter did not point towards anything out of the ordinary and certainly did not indicate that her 5-year-old would pass away to the disease so soon. A post made nearly a week ago even showed Braylynn dressed up in a princess gown.

Parker wrote: “Braylynn has a slightly runny nose today. Nothing too serious, other than that everything is pretty normal. Oh, and the nurses put her in one of her Belle gowns the night before last. I’m hoping she’ll wake up and lose her mind over how she turned into a princess overnight. What she doesn’t know, though, is that she has ALWAYS been a princess.”

The most recent update on Parker’s Facebook page did not indicate anything untoward either. It was a simple post accompanied by a picture of a smiling Braylynn which read: “Good morning, sweet girl. You’re still fighting, so I’m going to keep fighting with you. Mommy’s still here, and I’ll be here every second.”

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