A family whose sweet photo showing their toddler comforting his cancer-stricken baby brother went viral have sadly announced that their youngest son has passed away.
Sheryl Blanksby hit headlines earlier this year when she shared a deeply touching image to social media that showed her two sons lying side by side on the sofa as the older brother comforted his sick sibling.
The mother-of-two captured the lovely moment between her then three-year-old son William trying to soothe his baby brother Thomas, who was battling a form of childhood cancer at just four months old.
Her post touched the hearts of people all over the world, with many empathising parents offering their well wishes and support. Now, tragically the mum from Perth has had to share the update that little Thomas has passed away.
Posting a tribute to Instagram, Sheryl told followers that ‘our #littlewarriorthomas grew his angel wings yesterday night, 8th of May 2017 at 730pm’.
The mum-of-two shared a white image that featured Thomas’s full name along with the date he was born next to the date he passed away.
She wrote, ‘He was surrounded by family and right next to his mummy and daddy when he passed away. He fought the good fight especially when he was only expected to live for only short amount of weeks after his diagnosis.
‘His baby sibling who we miscarried before him that had the same due date was also taken away from us the same date 2 years ago and they are now together with our loved ones who are looking down upon us. He’s no longer in pain is our only consolation.’
Finally, Sheryl reached out with thanks to all of those who had offered their support to the family, saying, ‘We miss him so much everything hurts. Thank for all your kindness and support the last few months.’
Followers have expressed their devastation for the couple, flooding the post with sympathetic comments.
One Instagram user wrote, ‘I’m so saddened to hear of your loss, I’m praying you find comfort in your memories and each other.’
Another added, ‘Oh my heart breaks for you all, you are so strong, I’m truly so so so sorry for your loss, rest in paradise little Thomas pain free.’
A third agreed, ‘Im so sorry sheryl i have been following your story and i was praying and thinking of your family everyday. i am devastated for you beautiful mumma. sending you all my love.’
The intimate moment that originally propelled the family to internet fame was caught on camera by Sheryl, who noticed her little men were uncharacteristically quiet in the living room together whilst on holiday.
Expecting to walk in and find chaos and mayhem, the mum was touched and taken aback to see her toddler quietly stroking his little brother’s face, telling him ‘Big Brother is here. Everything is okay.’
‘#Throwback to when we were on our holiday. I was getting ready in the bathroom and husband was in the kitchen.’
Describing how she tiptoed into the lounge, ready to catch her little ones in the act of being ‘covered in Nutella’, Sheryl reflected on what she saw instead.
‘The kids were quiet, especially Mr preschooler. You know the rules about when kids are quiet. I tiptoed to the lounge with my camera ready to catch anything they are doing. I was expecting my baby to be covered in Nutella or something but instead I saw this.’
‘My preschooler is telling his baby brother “Kuya (big brother) is here. Everything is ok”. #myboys #bestbigbrother #documentinglittlemoments #mybabyloves #myheartandsoul #luckymummy’
Baby Thomas was born with a skin lesion on his right arm that looked like a birthmark, but tragically tests revealed a lump on his abdomen that was diagnosed as a malignant rhabdoid tumour.
Followers commented on Sheryl’s post with support, praising the mum for being ‘strong’ and ‘amazing’.
One Instagram user wrote, ‘I am in tears your story breaks my heart, You are so strong, an amazing mother, you don’t even realise how amazing and strong you are. Sending so much love, prayers & hope ❤️’.
Another said, ‘What a strong mother you are. I couldn’t help but cry. I really hope your family will get through this’.