A devastated dad has shared a picture of his daughter writhing in pain, to show the “true face of cancer” after being told she has just weeks to live.
Andy Whelan posted the photo of his four-year-old to a Facebook page called ‘Jessica Whelan – A fight against Neuroblastoma’.
He wrote: “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.”
He explained that Jessica had been given her diagnosis a few days earlier, after fighting cancer for over 12 months.
He continued: “This photograph was made in a moment that we as parents could offer her no comfort, her pushing us away whilst she rod 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 girl’s blood vessels protruding from beneath her skin, a solitary tear running down her cheek, her body stiffened and her face contorted in pain.”
Jessica was first wrongly diagnosed as having a bone infection, but later doctors explained she had stage four neuroblastoma in September 2015.
Andy’s daughter has been undergoing treatment since then, but the family were left heartbroken when they were told the cancer had spread to other areas of the body.
Andy and Nikki, Jessica’s mum, made the decision to stop their daughter’s treatment and let her enjoy the time she has left.
On the photo, Andy added: “If this photography only serves as a purpose to make people think twice about this evil and put into perspective what it does to a child that 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.”
The photo went viral and even moved One Direction star Harry Styles, who called Jessica’s dad in hope that he could lift her spirits.
Andy announced the news by writing: “Well that was a surreal telephone call…
“An unknown number I answered for it to only be HARRY STYLES ringing from USA!!!
“He wants to do a FaceTime or video recording for Jessica!
“The way she is at the moment I have told him that she would benefit more from a recording which he said he will do for her and email to us!”
How lovely is that?
You too should should do what you can, no family should go through what they have been through.
Please do what you can and donate to Jessica’s GoFundMe page by clicking on the link below.
You can help her enjoy her final days and give her extra care and support.
We send our thoughts and love to Jessica, Andy, Nikki and the rest of the family.