“I’m here. Everything is OK.”
This photo is ripping hearts out everywhere. Upon first glance the picture appears to be simply a tender moment between a little boy and his baby brother, but it is so much more. The toddler in the photo is comforting his brother who has cancer.
The mother of these two precious boys, Sheryl Blanksby of Australia, shared the heart-breaking photo on Instagram this week. In the post, she said she walked into the living room to check on her boys and saw three-year old William comforting his baby brother, Thomas. She overheard him saying, “[big brother] is here. Everything is OK.” You can see his little hand gently resting on the baby’s cheek.
“The kids were quiet, especially Mr. preschooler. You know the rules about when kids are quiet,” the mom writes. “I tiptoed to the lounge with my camera ready to catch anything they are doing. I was expecting my baby to be covered in Nutella or something, but instead I saw this.”
This photo is just one of many beautiful moments that the family is trying to capture in the little time they have left with their baby boy. Thomas is 13-weeks right now and has terminal cancer. There is no cure for his cancer. There is no known successful treatment.
Thomas was born with a skin lesion that looked like a birthmark. Doctors ran tests and found a lump on his abdomen, as well as lumps on his kidneys, lungs, and hip bone, according to The Daily Mail. He was diagnosed with malignant rhabdoid tumors, which are an aggressive and rare form of cancer commonly found in infants and toddlers, as explained by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Doctors have said there is nothing more they can do.
Sheryl and her husband Jon have told their older son that his new brother has an “ouchie” that doctors are trying to help. “He is aware that Mummy and Daddy are very sad because Thomas is not well,” she said. Kids can sense things, as we all know well, and the magnitude of his brother’s illness is no exception.
“William also said that maybe the doctors can’t help his baby brother, that’s why Mummy and Daddy are sad,” she said. “So we think he knows in his own way.”
There are no words to articulate what this family must be feeling right now. The mother is documenting all of the small and big moments, the happy and the sad, on her Instagram account.
There are the smiles.
The good days.
And the really hard days … when the sadness is seemingly endless…
The family has no timeline on how long Thomas will live. Their goal is to live life in the fullest way and make the most of whatever time they have.
“We often get caught up in our own little world of first problems and we sweat the small stuff, or complain about things that don’t matter,” she said.
“We forget how to be grateful of the things and life we have. We must live with a purpose, gratitude, and magnitude of love.”