LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A photo of a young Arkansas boy comforting his dying sister has gone viral.
The image shows Adalynn Joy Sooter, 4, lying in a hospital bed with her brother Jackson, 6, at her side. Jackson has his hand on Adalynn's forehead.
Adalynn, of Rogers, was being treated in Monterrey, Mexico, for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a tumor that grows on the brain stem, according to her family. She was diagnosed in November 2016.
Matt Sooter, the children's father, posted the photo of the two on Facebook on June 2.
"A little boy should not have to say goodbye to his partner in crime, his play mate, his best friend, his little sister," he wrote on Facebook. "This isn’t how it’s supposed to be ... Pray for Jackson. He doesn’t want to leave her side and we won’t make him. Pray for us."
The heartbreaking moment between the two siblings spread across the internet. The photo had been shared nearly 1,500 times as of Tuesday afternoon, and news outlets from Yahoo News to People magazine to The Washington Post had written about Adalynn's story. Even before the photo went viral, people across the world had offered support on a Facebook page Adalynn's family created, "Hope for Addy Joy - Fighting DIPG."
"Sending love from Sydney Australia," a woman wrote in May.
Another wrote, "Prayers from Turkey!"
Adalynn's family described her as a spunky, playful girl who liked princesses, dancing and spending time with her brother. She died June 3.
After her death, Matt Sooter wrote on Facebook, "We miss our sissy, but are glad she’s no longer struggling or in pain." He said Adalynn's brain and spine were donated for scientific research "in hopes of saving future children from a similar fate."
Adalynn's family has asked for any donations to be made to the Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas or Arkansas Children's Hospital.