Little girl comforts her brother through l.e.u.k.e.m.i.a treatments in powerful photo


When 2-year-old Beckett Burge was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in April 2018, his sister Aubrey had to give up gymnastics.

It sounds like a small sacrifice, but Aubrey was 3 at the time, and many kids her age would have pushed back.

Beckett’s big sister Aubrey, who was three at the time, was forced to give up gymnastics. But the siblings, just 15 months apart, have always had an inseparable bond, one that cancer couldn’t tear apart. Aubrey willing gave up her favorite activity for her brother.

If Aubrey felt neglected, she never said so.

She understood that Beckett was very sick and needed Mom and Dad by his side at the hospital. She also understood that Beckett — her favorite playmate — no longer had the strength to run around in the backyard.

So instead of throwing a fit or putting up resistance, at the tender age of three Aubrey adapted incredibly well. She crawled in bed with Beckett and they read books together. She taught him how to hold a pencil and gave him imaginary homework when he starting missing preschool. She barely left his side when he was home.

Burge recently paid tribute to the remarkable little girl in a Facebook post that has gone viral with more than 30,000 shares. In the powerful photos that were taken in January, a rail-thin Beckett is seen leaning over a toilet while Aubrey rubs his back.

“One thing they don’t tell you about childhood c.a.n.c.e.r is that it affects the entire family. You always hear about the financial and medical struggles, but how often do you hear about the struggles families with other children face? To some, this may be hard to see and read.

My two kids, 15 months apart, went from playing in school and at home together to sitting in a cold hospital room together. My then 4 year-year-old watched her brother go from an ambulance to the ICU. She watched a dozen doctors throw a mask over his face, poke and prod him with needles, pump a dozen medications through his body, all while he laid there helplessly. She wasn’t sure what was happening. All she knew was that something was wrong with her brother, her best friend..

A little over a month after he was released from the hospital, she watched him struggle to walk and struggle to play. The lively, energetic, and outgoing little brother she once knew was now a quiet, sick, and very sleepy little boy. He never wanted to play. She didn’t understand how he was able to walk before this, but now he can’t even stand unassisted. She didn’t understand the different therapies he had to attend to gain his strength back. To her, it was something special he got to do that she didn’t. Why couldn’t they go to their favorite trampoline park anymore? Why couldn’t they go to the splash pads they previously went to? Why didn’t he have to go back to school, but she did?

Why did we take his sister with us and why did she see all of this at a young age? Children need support and togetherness, and should not be kept at a distance from the person who is ill. The most important thing is to show that they are taken care of regardless of the situation. She spent a fair amount of time, by his side in the bathroom, while he got sick. She stuck by him. She supported him and she took care of him, regardless of the situation. To this day, they are closer. She always takes care of him.

Vomiting between play sessions. Waking up to throw up. Standing by her brothers side and rubbing his back while he gets sick. Going from 30 lbs to 20 lbs. This is childhood c.a.n.c.e.r. Take it or leave it. 🎗”

Aubrey, who is now 5, started kindergarten in the fall. Beckett, 4, will hopefully return to school school next year.

“At the moment, it’s all about protecting him and keeping him in a bubble,” Burge told TODAY Parents. “Aubrey is teaching Beckett to hold a pencil and gives him pretend homework. He never learned those things because he’s been sick.”

Beckett is set to finish chemotherapy in August 2021. Burge said his prognosis is good.

Well-wishes for Beckett continue to pour in Facebook, with many sharing images of their own children supporting a sibling through an illness. As one mom wrote, “She held his hand, rubbed his head, and watched as he fought the fight of his life.”,

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