Seven-year-old Hayley was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of childhood cancer that affects tissue or bone, on 23 June. A tumour was discovered in the soft tissue at the back of her nose and it was filling her nasal passage, reports The Huffington Post.
Because the cancer was affecting one of the little girl's eyes as well her brain, doctors recommended she start chemo as soon as possible and she reported for her first dose two days after her diagnosis.
Her lovely long hair soon fell out - but her lashes held on until they too started being affected. One lash, however, refused to budge. And her dad, Andrew Brown, took a picture of it as a symbol of hope amid his daughter's suffering.
“Throughout the treatment so many people, including her older sister, said how jealous they were of her beautiful long eyelashes,” Andrew told Kidspot.
“But then one day she complained about something in her eye. The lashes were coming out one at a time.”
All, that is, except one. Andrew says the heartrending picture shows just how long and thick Hayley's full set would have been.
“It was a bit of a heart-breaking moment when we realised they were all going, but when we noticed that one stayed it was a reminder of what she had been through,” he said.
The photo has been shared online, with many users opening their hearts to Hayley and her family.
“I was expecting the usual dozen people to comment and the usual few dozen to click ‘Like,’ ‘Heart’ or ‘Sad Face’ [on Facebook],” he said. “I seriously did not expect anything past that.”
Although the support has been "amazing", Andrew says, Hayley has been having a "rough week" and although he has tried to tell her there are hundreds of people rooting for her, she's been too ill to take much of it in.
But he's positive she will recover. And that eyelash, which finally gave up its feisty fight after three weeks, will grow back - and be joined by a full set of glorious lashes.
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Sources: Buzzfeed.com, HuffingtonPost.com, Kidspot.com.au, Facebook