Real Life

Four year old cancer sufferer whose image shocked world dies

Her photo went viral after her father shared the "true face of cancer" earlier this year.
Childhood cancer

Childhood cancer

The four-year-old girl who broke hearts around the world after her father shared a shocking image of her cancer struggle has died, her parents confirmed today.

Jessica Whelan has been suffering from stage four neuroblastoma since last year, and finally lost her battle to the disease on Sunday morning, UK time.

Taking to Facebook to share the tragic news, her heartbroken father wrote: “I feel both sadness and relief in informing you all that Jessica finally found peace at seven o’clock this morning. No longer does she suffer, no longer does she feel the pain of the physical constraints of her body.

“Now my princess has grown her angel wings and has gone up to play with her friends and loved ones. She will now watch down over her little brother and ourselves until one day we are reunited again.”

The father of two revealed that they had a “big cuddle” and he told her how much he loved her, before telling her it was okay to close her eyes and go to sleep.

“I feel like a massive part of me has just been torn away but I am so glad that I could give her that comfort in her final hours. She passed peacefully and calmly with not even a murmur.

“Thank you to everyone of you who has shared and has been a part of our journey. I ask now for privacy for us and our family as we mourn the loss of our beautiful princess.

“From a heartbroken daddy of the most amazing and beautiful girl.”

Parents Andy and Nicki Pendergast made the painful decision to stop her treatment earlier this year, after doctors said they could do no more for her.

Her photo went viral after Andy shared an image of her crying in pain as she went through treatment, as he wrote “this is the true face of cancer.”

More than 3,000 people raised $140,000 so that Jessica could enjoy her last few months on earth, making memories with her family.

Related stories


Get your favourite magazines home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.