Cancer-stricken 4-year-old girl who touched many dies

Jessica Whelan, photo taken by her father, Andy Whelan. Photo courtesy the Whelan family.
Jessica Whelan, photo taken by her father, Andy Whelan. Photo courtesy the Whelan family.

LONDON (AP) — The father of a four-year-old girl whose struggle with a rare form of cancer drew widespread sympathy in Britain has announced that she has died.

Andrew Whelan said on Facebook on Sunday that his daughter Jessica had died that morning.

He said he felt “both sadness and relief in informing you all that Jessica finally found peace,” adding that her suffering had ended.

The Lancashire girl’s plight had attracted widespread sympathy as her father posted photos of her struggle with neuroblastoma in the months before it took her life. It is a rare form of cancer that primarily hits babies and young children.

He said he was able to have a final “big cuddle” with his daughter before her death. He has been raising money to help fight the disease.

Andrew’s Facebook post:

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.

Last night she finally allowed me to hold her in my arms and we had a big cuddle as I told her how much I loved her. I told her again that it was okay for her to close her eyes and go to sleep and I kissed her forehead and her lips numerous times. It seems like this is what she needed to finally allow her to find comfort in her passing as within eight hours of this cuddle she finally took her final breath. She was a daddy’s girl from the start and even right up to the end. 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.

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