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Sheryl Blanksby's young sons, Thomas and William. (Instagram)

William & Thomas

Mom snaps photo of 3-year-old boy comforting terminally ill baby brother

March 10, 2017

A mother in Australia has shared a photo she snapped of her two young children that is at once heartmelting and heartbreaking. Sheryl Blanksby, a blogger based in Perth, posted a candid photo on Instagram showing her two little boys laying on the couch together. The older boy, 3-year-old William, is gently caressing the cheek of his baby brother, 4-month-old Thomas. A cute pic to be sure. But the emotion evoked in the photo is magnified by the circumstances that an observer can’t know merely by looking at the picture. Little Thomas is battling what Blanksby has said is terminal cancer.

Her caption on the photo explains the tender moment:

“I was getting ready in the bathroom and husband was in the kitchen. The kids were quiet, especially Mr preschooler,” she wrote. “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.”

At the age of just 11 weeks old, doctors diagnosed young Thomas with an aggressive form of cancer last month. Shortly after the devastating diagnosis, baby Thomas underwent surgery to remove a malignant rhabdoid tumor from his kidney. Doctors ended up removing his entire kidney. According to a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for the family, doctors then said Thomas’ cancer was terminal.

Blanksby has chronicled her family’s heartache in a series of recent posts on social media. Last week, she posted of photo of herself showing tears rolling down her cheek and in the caption discussed grappling with the grim outcome she’s bracing for. “I can’t stop the tears today. How do you stop them anyway? Why do I even share it on social media? I don’t know but I do know that I want to remember this moment in a photo.”

She has also shared some hopeful photos celebrating the precious moments she’s been sharing with her little tot. In one, where Thomas appears oblivious to his ordeal and is grinning ear to ear, Blanksby wrote, “This smile makes me forget he’s sick. It makes me believe I’m not going to lose him …”

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