It’s a sight no parents want to ever see — their child in pain.
Unfortunately, it’s a sight Andy Whelan sees far too often.
His 4-year-old daughter, Jessica, has been battling neuroblastoma, a cancer often found in the small glands on top of the kidneys, for over a year now.
As a father and photographer, Whelan wanted to find a way to remember his little girl, but it was far more painful than he could ever have imagined.
“This is the hardest photograph I have ever made, it is in fact my own 4-year-old daughter,” Whelan said. “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.”
The dad decided to post the heartbreaking photograph on Facebook to share the “truth and the reality” of his family’s situation. The post received over 45,000 responses, 16,000 shares, and 9,700 comments from people wishing to show the family their support. Other parents have posted their own photos of childhood cancer in the comments.
“Too easy it becomes to capture the joy of life whilst discarding the torture that we see,” he explained.
In the photo, Jessica fought back tears as she writhed in pain in a hospital bed.
In response to the outpouring of goodwill online, Whelan has opened a gofundme campaign to raise funds to improve the final weeks of Jessica’s life. You can donate to the campaign here.