The Real Face of Childhood Cancer
Childhood Cancer is not something the average individual really thinks about – until it happens to them or someone close to them…
Here at the Little Fighters Cancer Trust we deal with Childhood Cancer daily, and we feel the pain of our Little Fighters and their parents deeply.
A father should never have to post a photograph like this of his child …
On Oct. 27, doctors at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital informed 4-year-old Jessica Whelan’s parents that she would only have weeks left to live. Her father, a photographer, snapped a photo showing his child suffering from the pain caused by neuroblastoma and shared it on Facebook, pleading with followers to raise more awareness for paediatric cancers.
As a photographer it is important to capture the truth and the reality of a situation, too easy it becomes to capture the joy of life whilst discarding the torture that we see.
This is the hardest photograph I have ever made, it is in fact my own four year old daughter. A few days ago she was given what is most likely only a few weeks to live after a battle against cancer that has been waged for over twelve months. 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.
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.
This is the true face of cancer, my baby girls blood vessels protruding from beneath her skin, a solitary tear running down her cheek, her body stiffened and her face contorted in pain.
I could try and use a thousand words to describe this image that we as parents are confronted with on a daily basis but these words would fall short of truly depicting the sight we see. With this photo I do not mean to offend or upset, I do mean however to educate and shock those that see it in it’s context.
Perhaps by seeing this photo people not in our position will be made aware of the darkness that is childhood cancer, perhaps these same people may be able to do something about it so that in the future no child has to suffer this pain, so that no parent has to bear witness to their own flesh and blood deteriorating daily.
The only apologies I offer are to those that know Jessica, I understand that this photo is hard to see and even harder to absorb. To those that do not know Jessica I offer no apologies, this is what cancer does to a child in their final weeks and days!!! Before her diagnosis I was one of those ignorant to the darkness of childhood cancer, not truly appreciating the hell that it brings. It would never happen to us! Now I give childhood cancer the respect it deserves, seeing too many children suffering this same fate and watching families torn apart.
If this photograph only serves as a purpose to make people think twice about this evil and put into perspective what it does to a child then it has achieved its purpose. Research needs to be done, cures need to be found, too long now has this been allowed to happen.
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.
All of us from Team LFCT would like to send our Love and Strength to Jessica and her parents, dad Andy Whelan and mom Nicki Prendergast. We hold you all in our hearts and in our prayers.
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•💕 Love, Light & Strength 💕 •
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THIS is why we do what we do; THIS is why we are constantly begging for money to help Childhood Cancer affected children and their families; THIS is what we would give anything for our Little Fighters and their Parents not to have to go through.
While we do not have anything to do with research, YOU can help us to make a difference to help Childhood Cancer affected Families by donating so that we can continue giving emotional, physical and any other kind of help that we can… please look at our Projects to see just some of what we do and help us to help them!
Posted on 4 November, 2016, in Blog and tagged Cancer Trust, childhood cancer, Children with Cancer, Fighting Cancer, Jessica Whelan, LFCT, Little Fighters, Little Fighters Cancer Trust, paediatric cancer, Pediatric cancer, south africa. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.