At just four years old, Jessica Whelan has passed away from stage four neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that is most often found in young children.
Awareness was brought not just to Jessica in particular, but to the terminal condition from which she suffered by her father Andy Whelan, a photographer. Unsure as to whether or not he wanted to go through with making one heartbreaking photo of his daughter public, he ultimately decided it may draw attention to neuroblastoma and spur others to donate to childhood cancer research efforts.
The powerful photo is difficult to look at, but it drew over 100,000 followers to a Facebook support page for Jessica that is run by her father. Early this morning, her father let the world know that his little girl was finally free of the pain she suffered during her battle with cancer.
“I feel both sadness and relief in informing you all that Jessica finally found peace at seven o’clock this morning. No longer does she suffer, no longer does she feel the pain of the physical constraints of her body.”
We can’t imagine the loss and sadness Jessica’s family is feeling at this moment, but hopefully the awareness her story brought to neuroblastoma will one day lead to a cure.