One poignant photo says everything about a young girl’s battle against cancer.
Seven-year-old Hayley Brown might not have thought much about her long, enviable eyelashes, but her father, Andrew Brown, did.
So when Hayley lost her hair to chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Andrew shared a photo of what remained— a quiet metaphor for the toll cancer has taken on Hayley and her continued resilience.
In an interview with Kidspot, Andrew describes the changes to his daughter in the few months since doctors discovered a cancerous tumor in her nose. Following the diagnosis, Hayley immediately began aggressive chemotherapy and radiation.
Hayley’s long dark hair was an early casualty of the treatment, followed by her eyebrows. Her eyelashes, however, managed to hold out longer. Andrew tells Kidspot:
“[P]eople, including her older sister, always said how jealous they were of her beautiful big eyelashes. But then one day she was complaining about something in her eye. The lashes were all coming out one at a time.”
When all but one of Hayley’s eyelashes had disappeared, her father captured the lone lash in a photo. Posting the image to Facebook, Andrew wrote:
“That one last eyelash has been hanging on, on it’s own, for a few weeks now.”
Ironically, Andrew says his daughter doesn’t think much about losing her hair. Hayley is more concerned about her weight loss and lack of energy. The formerly active girl is now so weak in her legs that her father carries her nearly everywhere.
There are times, Andrew tells Kidspot, when he thinks that Hayley doesn’t really understand what’s happening. However, there are also occasions when he believes his daughter, “seems to understand more than anyone.”
Hayley still has weeks of radiation and two rounds of chemotherapy ahead of her, but after three months of treatment, scans have already showed that the tumor is shrinking.
Eyelashes aren’t the only thing about Hayley that can hang on against all odds. Despite everything she has been through, Hayley is still able to face her troubles with a smile. Her father tells Kidspot:
“She has a sense of humor there most of the time, she has a funny wicked sense of humor.”
A My Cause site has been created to help the family with expenses.