A heart-wrenching photograph of an elder sibling comforting her 4-year-old brother, suffering from leukemia and undergoing chemotheraphy, has left thousands across the world teary-eyed. The viral image was shared by their mother.
In the picture shared by Kaitlin Burge, 28, of Texas, US, little Beckett Burge is comforted by his 5-year-old sister Aubrey, as the side effects of chemotheraphy disrupt their playtime. Beckett is seen supporting himself over the toilet as Aubrey pats him on the back.
Kaitlin, a mother of three, wrote a long post that accompanied the photo. She wrote, "One thing they don’t tell you about childhood cancer is that it affects the entire family. You always hear about the financial and medical struggles, but how often do you hear about the struggles families with other children face?”
"To some, this may be hard to see and read. My two kids, 15 months apart, went from playing in school and at home together to sitting in a cold hospital room together,” the post read.
According to Fox News, Beckett in April 2018 was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The 4-year-old underwent chemotherapy, blood transfusions and platelet transfusions during a one-month-long stay at the hospital before he came home.
Kaitlin mentioned about how Aubrey watched Beckett go from a "lively, energetic and outgoing little brother" to a "quiet, sick, and very sleepy little boy" and how the change affected the whole family.
"She didn't understand how he was able to walk before this, but now he can't even stand unassisted," wrote their mother.
“My then 4 year-year-old watched her brother go from an ambulance to the ICU. She watched a dozen doctors throw a mask over his face, poke and prod him with needles, pump a dozen medications through his body, all while he laid there helplessly. She wasn’t sure what was happening. All she knew was that something was wrong with her brother, her best friend,” mentioned the post by Kaitlin shared on a page called Beckett Strong.
“Why did we take his sister with us and why did she see all of this at a young age? Children need support and togetherness, and should not be kept at a distance from the person who is ill. The most important thing is to show that they are taken care of regardless of the situation,” Burge wrote.
“Vomiting between play sessions. Waking up to throw up. Standing by her brothers side and rubbing his back while he gets sick. Going from 30 lbs to 20 lbs. This is childhood cancer. Take it or leave it,” she added.
According to Sun, Kaitlin said that after Aubrey washed her brother's hands and carried him to the couch before offering to clean the bathroom.
"They have an incredible bond. To this day, they are closer, she always takes care of him," said Kaitlin.
Read the entire post here:
The post has collected over 6,000 comments and more than 40,000 shares.
Here are snippets of what some people wrote on the post:
"Praying for your little guy and family! What a brave boy and strong sister! Kudos to you for the courage to share. So heartbreaking to see both kids going thru what kids should never have to face," a Facebook user wrote.
"My heart goes out to you and your family. I cried as I read this, thinking how fragile life is. Knowing that any one at any time could be affected by cancer," another added.
Many thanked her for sharing the "powerful" photo because, as one user wrote, "Not many people know what the whole family goes through unless you’ve been there. The patient can’t even really explain what they’re going through let alone the family. It really does help with the ones you love and that love you in return has a part in this."