Just hours before 4-year-old Adalynn Sooter demised from a brain tumor on June 3 at an Arkansas hospital, her big brother was at her bedside stroking her hair in the girl’s final moments Time.
It’s the moment a brother said goodbye to his little sister. Adalynn Sooter, or Addy as family members called the 4-year-old, was suffering diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare tumor that starts in the brain stem.
The family from Springdale, Arkansas, a suburb of Rogers, knew the little girl was taking her last breath and let the siblings spend time together.
So Jackson, Addy’s 6-year-old brother, rubbed her head and said goodnight.
She demised hours later. “A little boy should not have to say goodbye to his partner inactivity, his playmate, his best friend, his little sister,” the children’s father, Matt Sooter, wrote on social media. “This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.” Sooter snapped a picture of the heartbreaking moment and shared it June 2 on social media.
In the social media post, Sooter said Addy’s symptoms progressed rapidly over the course of a couple of days.
He added that she could no longer eat and was having difficulty swallowing. This type of glioma, a tumor that that occurs in the brain and spinal cord, affects the brain stem, which “controls breathing, heart rate and the nerves and muscles that help us see, hear, walk, talk and eat,” according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The survival rate is low for this, which accounts for 10% to 20% of all childhood brain cancers, the hospital said.
The family admitted Addy to hospice care to combat the pain as it spread to her spine, Sooter said in a June 1 social media post.
He urged family members to say their final goodbyes and asked for prayers — for both his children. “Pray for Jackson,” Sooter wrote. “He doesn’t want to leave her side, and we won’t make him.” He told The Washington Post that Addy’s condition worsened 20 minutes after Jackson said goodnight.