Braylynn Lawhon, a 5-year-old from Florida, was diagnosed with a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma brain tumor, and after only about a month, died Monday, her family announced. A photo of her in her hospital bed, next to her grieving grandfather, went viral, sparking well-wishers to donate tens of thousands of dollars toward her medical care.
Her grandfather, Sean Peterson, suffers from ALS, and Braylynn's illness added even more strain to their family. "It's a true hell on earth. I feel helpless," her grandmother, Beth Peterson-Hickman, told People. "I'm trying to stay strong for my family." A GoFundMe account, set up by Braylynn's aunt, has raised more than $75,000 toward her medical care and travel expenses so her family could be with her.
On Monday night, Braylynn's family posted the sad news of her passing on the Facebook page Braylynn's Battalion. "Our sweet Braylynn, our warrior princess, earned her sparkly pink angel wings this evening," the post reads. "Her nickname was Princess Bel and she could light up any room. She loved Hello Kitty and her birthday was December 10. She was a princess with the strength of a warrior and she will NEVER be forgotten. We need this cruel disease called DIPG to stop taking our children away from us!"
During her last days, her loved ones dressed her as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and gathered around her bed to say their goodbyes. "We will cherish these photos of our warrior princess for our lifetime," the post on her page reads.
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