During the winter months, it’s not uncommon for people to catch a cold or flu. Most of the time, rest and time are enough to make a full recovery. But what if your symptoms persist? It’s important not to ignore them and seek medical advice if needed.
This is exactly what 16-year-old Shayla Mitchell did when she couldn’t shake off her persistent cough. At first, she suspected it might be sinusitis, but the severity of her symptoms prompted her to ask her dad, Tom, to take her to see a doctor. Little did they know, this decision would change their lives forever.
Upon examination, the doctor returned with devastating news. Shayla had an enormous cancerous tumor that occupied almost two-thirds of her breasts. It had even caused her lung to collapse, explaining her prolonged illness and relentless coughing. Despite the shocking revelation, Shayla and her dad decided to continue with their plans for dinner, albeit in the hospital instead of a restaurant. Little did they know that the next meals they shared would be in the pediatric oncology unit.
Shayla was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the prognosis was grim. Undeterred, Tom made a heartfelt gesture to show his unwavering support for his daughter. He bought matching bracelets for both of them, vowing to wear his every day until Shayla beat cancer.
Over the course of several years, Tom stood by his daughter’s side as they battled the devastating disease together. Shayla endured numerous tests, blood transfusions, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and even a cardiac arrest. But she never lost hope and continued fighting every step of the way.
For Tom, witnessing Shayla’s pain was agonizing. He held her hair while she vomited, cried, laughed, and found the strength to be brave, just like her. The day eventually arrived when doctors conceded defeat. Shayla’s body was no longer responding to treatment, and a bone marrow transplant had failed.
In a heartfelt post on the Love What Matters Facebook page, Tom shared his fears of having to discuss his daughter’s impending death. He questioned his own bravery, but he knew he had to be strong for Shayla. And when that difficult conversation took place, something magical happened. They shared a deeply profound moment, a conversation that would forever be etched in Tom’s memory. In Shayla’s gentle whisper, she asked her dad, “Am I still brave?”
Tom looked into his daughter’s eyes and saw the immense pain she had endured. He realized that Shayla had fought not just for herself but also for him. A few days later, Shayla passed away, leaving Tom devastated. But he knew one thing for certain: Shayla had fulfilled her promise and remained courageous until the very end.
Let’s honor Shayla’s memory and remember all the children who have succumbed to cancer. Share this touching story to raise awareness and support for those fighting this relentless disease.
Note: This article is intended for informational purposes only. If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent symptoms, it’s important to seek medical advice from qualified healthcare professionals.