Sibling love was on display as Addy Sooter, four, battled Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare brain tumor affecting the brain stem. With Addy’s family in Springdale, Ark., aware of her impending death, they allowed her siblings to spend time together.
Her 6-year-old brother, Jackson, tenderly rubbed her head and bid her goodnight before she passed away a few hours later.
“A little boy shouldn’t have to say goodbye to his best friend, his playmate, his partner in crime. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be,” wrote on Facebook the children’s father, Matt Sooter.
The sibling love story behind the picture
On June 2, Sooter captured the heart-wrenching moment in a photograph and shared it on Facebook. According to him, Addy’s condition deteriorated rapidly in just a few days, leading to difficulty in swallowing and loss of appetite.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital states that it impacts the brain stem, which controls essential functions such as breathing, heart rate, vision, hearing, speech, and eating.
On June 1, Sooter shared in a Facebook update that they had admitted Addy to hospice care to alleviate the agony caused by cancer that had spread to her spine.
The day before the photo was taken, Matt shared that Addy was in poor condition.
Within 36 hours, her condition had worsened significantly, and she was no longer able to eat or swallow easily, and was mostly asleep. As a result, she was placed in inpatient care, and it is unlikely that she will survive for much longer. Matt reminisced about his once lively and playful daughter.
He said: “We miss her terribly, but we’re also at peace knowing we tried our best to help her. Her final words to her were, ‘See you later. We’ll see you again someday.'”
Although Addy was initially given only a few months to live after her diagnosis on November 12, 2016, she defied the odds and survived for nearly eighteen months.
Despite the grandparents’ excitement over the shrinking tumor, Matt realized that his daughter Addy was unlikely to win the battle against her illness.
They stated: “While we’re trying to change the outcome, we don’t expect to win this fight. We haven’t given up, but it seems we’re losing the battle. We don’t fear losing her, but we don’t look forward to it.”
What are your thoughts on the heartwarming display of sibling love in the face of tragedy?