A heartbreaking photo shared by a Texas mother of her daughter looking after her brother has gone viral, shedding light on how childhood cancer affects siblings and entire families.
Beckett Burge, 4, from Princeton, Texas, was diagnosed in April 2018 with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of blood cancer that affects white bone marrow.
Beckett’s mother, Kaitlin Burge, has been posting updates about his cancer battle on a Facebook page named “Beckett Strong”.
In a Sept. 3 post on the page, Kaitlin wrote, “One thing they don’t tell you about childhood cancer is that it affects the entire family. You always hear about the financial and medical struggles, but how often do you hear about the struggles families with other children face?”
Kaitlin admitted that she knew it may be hard for some to look at the photos and read what she had to say.
She also shared how her daughter watched Beckett struggle to walk and play after his initial diagnosis, treatment, and release from the hospital went viral.
“The lively, energetic, and outgoing little brother she once knew was now a quiet, sick, and very sleepy little boy,” Kaitlin wrote. “He never wanted to play. She didn’t understand how he was able to walk before this, but now he can’t even stand unassisted.”
Kaitlin said that her daughter has stayed by her brother’s side despite the difficulty.
Kaitlin also explained her choice to bring her daughter to the hospital with Beckett.
“Children need support and togetherness, and should not be kept at a distance from the person who is ill,” she wrote.
“The most important thing is to show that they are taken care of regardless of the situation. She spent a fair amount of time, by his side in the bathroom, while he got sick. She stuck by him. She supported him and she took care of him, regardless of the situation. To this day, they are closer. She always takes care of him,” Kaitlin wrote.
“Vomiting between play sessions. Waking up to throw up. Standing by her brother’s side and rubbing his back while he gets sick. Going from 30 lbs to 20 lbs.”
The post has gone viral, quickly garnering over 46,000 reactions, 4,000 comments, and 29,000 shares since Kaitlin shared it on the Beckett Strong updates page.
“This is childhood cancer. Take it or leave it,” said Kaitlin.