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When The World Mourned For 5-Year-Old Braylynn Lawhon

Parker and her daughter Braylynn | Photo: Susan Hull Photography

Four days away from her fifth birthday, Braylynn Lawhon was diagnosed with DIPG. Since then, her mother, Allyn Parker began documenting Braylynn’s journey and her battle with DIPG and shared it on social media to spread awareness.

It is surprising but true that despite the death of hundreds of children every year due to DIPG, the awareness for this glial tumor is scarce. Parker’s efforts, in spite of all the pain she was going through as a mother, made many in the world aware about DIPG.

A photograph that she shared showing Braylynn Lawhon and her crying grandfather next to her had gone viral on the Internet. Her grandfather was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and ALS – he passed away soon after Braylynn did in January 2018.

Braylynn and her grandfather | Photo: Alynn Parker
Braylynn and her grandfather | Photo: Alynn Parker

Parker wrote in her Facebook post, “We all thought that they would outlive the rest of us…and we certainly never thought that my precious little Braylynn would be the first to go. Last year was hard for us, but I can’t even begin to explain how difficult this year will be and has already been. In a few days I will have to bury this beautiful little girl. Months, maybe even weeks, later, I will have to bury my father.” The photograph made an impact that no amount of words ever can.

The treatment for the little girl cost about $18000 to be spent every 3-7 weeks. The family had started a GoFundMe page where many people came forward to help. And this is a story similar to what hundreds of families go through every year.

In such a state of shock, Parker had planned a princess-themed funeral for her sweetheart. She knew that the child deserved the best. As she passed through the most difficult phase of her life, she remembered to share her daughter’s story in the hope that no other mother has to go through what she did.

The Marc Jr Foundation is committed to finding a cure for DIPG and saving lives. Your smallest act of support, will mean the world to the families battling DIPG. Let’s make a difference together.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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When 40 Police Departments Surprised Emma, A 7-Year-Old Battling DIPG

Emma Mertens, DIPG

Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.– Jackie Chan

Sometimes our lives take unexpected turns, turns that we are not prepared for. In such times even a tiny bit of happiness gives us the strength to brave the storm. Kindness is the best form of medicine.

For Emma Mertens, a 7-year-old girl from Wisconsin who is battling DIPG, that happiness came in the form of 40 police officers and dogs.

In January this year, Emma was diagnosed with DIPG. Like a child unaware of what is happening to her, Emma was upset. There was something that would cheer Emma up and that was dogs. Her love for dogs was unparalleled. A friend of the family thought sending her a letter from her dog would cheer Emma up. She asked people through various social media platforms to send her photos and letters from their dogs and people from different corners of the world did their bit to make her happy.

But the K-9 officers from 40 police departments went a step ahead to make Emma smile. Surprised on seeing so many dogs and people – all just there for her, with some having driven for about three hours, Emma was overjoyed. These small acts of kindness helped Emma and her family get through the painful phase in their lives.

While the treatment of DIPG and our efforts to find a cure for it are important, what is also important is to lift a child’s spirits and make them smile. A simple act of kindness can go a long way in making the journey of battling DIPG a little easier for the children and their families.

This is just one story, Emma is just one of the faces of DIPG. There are many children out there who need a little bit of support and help. At Marc Jr Foundation, we have adopted a multi-fold approach to battle DIPG and one day, triumph over it. Are you with us?

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Sources (1,2,3)

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The Story Of Neil Armstrong’s Daughter & Her Battle With DIPG

Karen Muffie Armstrong, DIPG, Neil Armstrong, Marc Jr Foundation

Karen Anne Armstrong was just two and a half years old when she passed away on January 28, 1962. This was also the sixth wedding anniversary of her parents. A beautiful little girl, Karen had DIPG but doctors at the time weren’t able to tell. Fondly called “Muffie,” many say that she was one of the reasons why her father, Neil Armstrong, became the first man to step foot on the Moon in 1969, five years after Muffie’s death.

According to journalist Jay Barbee’s biography, Karen never left her father’s thoughts. When he landed on the Moon and noticed a baby crater, he named it after his daughter and called it “Muffie’s Crater.” Here is what the book says, “He stood there, remembering how Muffie would have loved sliding down into the pit. He had an overwhelming urge to do it for her. But then better judgment grabbed him. He settled for taking pictures and describing what he saw before heading back.”

Soon after her second birthday, Karen was playing the park and she fell. It gave her bump on the head. When she got home her nose was bleeding and she had a concussion. Later in the evening, she couldn’t see properly. Soon she couldn’t walk well. She had DIPG. Radiation therapy took a toll on her health. Her symptoms returned by the end of 1961 and “cobalt treatment,” a treatment that destroyed cancerous cells but also destroyed the healthy ones. She was brought home and soon after Christmas she passed away.

Karen Muffie Armstrong, DIPG, Neil Armstrong, Marc Jr Foundation
Remembering Karen Muffie Armstrong | Photo: thetruth65film/Twitter

Karen’s battle with DIPG is an inspiration. She never complained, according to her mother Janet. She lived through the last Christmas of life, enjoying it, with utmost joy. Muffie will never be forgotten.

When Muffie was battling DIPG, Armstrong kept detailed notes about her treatment.  When she passed away, Armstrong went back to work. It was his way of grieving. He did not grieve in public but like every father who loses a child, mourned when alone. Her memories fuelled him in space.

Neil Armstrong’s famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” can be interpreted differently today. Your small step to fight against DIPG, can be a giant leap for mankind by finding a cure for it and helping children live. Will you join hands with Marc Jr Foundation in our battle against DIPG? Will you help save the lives of beautiful children like Muffie?

 

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Sources: 1, 2

 

Read more:

What Causes DIPG? Let’s Try To Get Some Answers

The Symptoms of DIPG You Should Be Aware Of