Mom Captures Emotional Photo of Her Son Comforting His Terminally Ill Baby Brother
Before Thomas Blanksby was born, his big brother, William, couldn't wait to be an older sibling. Their parents, Jon and Sheryl, felt blessed to have two boys — and even more blessed that those boys had each other.
Thomas arrived with all 10 fingers and toes — and an unusual lesion on his arm. Originally written off as a benign birthmark, four weeks ago, doctors ran tests just to make sure. A scan of the newborns' abdomen revealed a malignant mass — a rare rhabdoid tumor. Terminal cancer.
Thomas was about to need his big brother more than ever.
Only 20 to 25 cases of rhabdoid tumors, an aggressive form of cancer found in infants and toddlers, are diagnosed each year. The tumors typically originate in the kidneys or soft tissues of the brain, then spread like wildfire throughout the body. That tumor on Thomas's arm was a sign that the cancer had already progressed. Now 13 weeks old, Thomas has tumors in his lungs, left kidney and skin. After removing the baby's kidney, another tumor, located on his hip bone, fractured his femur.
With a survival rate below 30%, there is no record of successful treatment for rhabdoid tumors. It's unclear how much time Thomas has left, but his family is dedicated to keeping him comfortable, happy and at home in the days to come.
Recently, when Sheryl Blanksby found a moment of quiet at home, she was skeptical. Not because she thought there was something wrong with Thomas, but because she's a mom to two rambunctious boys.
She grabbed her camera, thinking that she was about to walk in on the boys getting into all kinds of trouble. What she actually found blew her away. She snapped a photo so she could treasure the moment forever:
"I was expecting my baby to be covered in Nutella or something but instead I saw this," she wrote, after posting the photo on Instagram. "My preschooler is telling his baby brother 'Kuya (big brother) is here. Everything is ok.'"
William, stroking his little brother's face, hoped to bring the sick brother comfort. "We think he knows in his own way," his parents told the Daily Mail. "He is aware that Mommy and Daddy are very sad because Thomas is not well."
Though the Blanksbys will lose Thomas soon, they plan to travel, go to the beach, picnic and venture up and away in a hot air balloon. Through it all, Thomas can count on William to be there.
The siblings' love for one another has inspired their parents and helped them find gratitude in the most difficult of times. "We forget how to be grateful of the things and life we have," they explained. "We must live with a purpose, gratitude and magnitude of love."
If you'd like to help the Blanksbys enjoy the time they have left with their little boy, a family friend has started a GoFundMe to help cover hospital bills.
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