Girl in Viral Photo With Grandfather Dies, Says Family
The girl from a viral photo that showed her with her sick grandfather has passed away, according to the family.
Braylynn Lawhon, 5, died from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a highly aggressive type of brain tumor, her family said in an announcement on Monday.
“’And though she be but little, she is fierce.’ Our sweet Braylynn, our warrior princess, earned her sparkly pink angel wings this evening. 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!” the family wrote.
A photo of Braylynn and grandfather Sean Peterson, who is suffering from ALS, was posted on social media before it was heavily shared.
The photo was apparently taken by Braylynn’s mother, Ally Parker.
She wrote: “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.”
“It’s a true hell on earth. I feel helpless,” her grandmother, Beth Peterson-Hickman, told People magazine. “I’m trying to stay strong for my family.”
“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 added. “When he saw her, he was crying and it was heart-wrenching. I broke down and I had to turn around.”
The family is now making funeral arrangements for the girl.
According to Dana Farber Cancer Institute, DIPG accounts for 10 percent of all childhood central nervous system tumors.
“Approximately 300 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with DIPG each year. While DIPGs are usually diagnosed when children are between the ages of 5 and 9, they can occur at any age in childhood. These tumors occur in boys and girls equally and do not generally appear in adults,” the website said.
Janita Kan contributed to this report.