If you’ve ever been touched by cancer, you know how horrifically soul-crushing it is to watch someone you love slowly die in pain. Photographer Andy Whelan captured this image in it heartbreaking entirety this weekend, as his 4-year-old daughter, who has been fighting stage-four neuroblastoma, was given just a few weeks to live.
“This photograph was made in a moment that we as parents could offer her no comfort, her pushing us away whilst she rode out this searing pain in solitude,” Whelan says in the Facebook post. “This sadly, for us as a family, is not a sight that we see rarely. This is now a familiar sight that we see regularly through each day and night, its frequency now more often.”
Whelan, who lives in Lancashire, England, says his intention was to show “the darkness of childhood cancer,” because there is so much research that still needs to be done to end it. On Facebook, he has often chronicled the realities of his daughter Jessica’s cancer battles.
Jessica was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer of the nervous system, in September of 2015. Despite rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and drug trials, doctors found earlier this month that the cancer had spread throughout her body, Whelan told the Daily Mail.
“Please, I beg of you, as a heartbroken father, it is too late for my daughter, but childhood cancer needs to be cured. No family should have to go through this hell,” he ends the post, which has been shared over 3,100 times.
To donate to Whelan and his partner, Nicki Prendergast, and “to try and give Jessica as much happiness and enjoyment is as possible” in her last days, her family has also set up a GoFundMe page.
H/T Daily Mail