Mum’s Heartbreaking Photos Show Girl Looking After Little Brother Battling Leukaemia
When Aubrey Burge saw her little brother Beckett being sick in the toilet as a result of his acute leukaemia, her first instinct was to go and rub his back and tell him everything was going to be ok - copying what her mother had done for her when she had felt poorly in the past.
Captured in striking photos by the children's mother, Kaitlin Burge, five-year-old Aubrey then washed his hands and carried her younger sibling to the sofa, before asking her mum if she could help her clean the bathroom.
Little Beckett was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of two in April 2018 and since then has spent months in hospital having chemotherapy since. His big sister Aubrey, who is just 14 months older, has been by his side the whole way.
Mum Kaitlin, 28, has since shared the photos to show the importance of family during times of crisis.
"When I see them together, it makes me happy but at the same time it makes me sad," says Kaitlin, from Princeton in Texas, US. "They have an incredible bond. To this day, they are closer, she always takes care of him."
Kaitlin, who also has a younger daughter, says her mature little girl often shuns seeing friends in favour of looking after her little brother.
"A child that's four or five years old should be outside playing with their friends," she says.
"She loves gymnastics and we had to put a stop to that because of the financial burden, it got too expensive with his situation.
"She should be out doing gymnastics, running around the neighbourhood with the kids, playing in the playground, swimming in the pool - but here she is taking care of her brother.
"They're very close - they always played together. He'd play dolls with her and she'd play superheroes with him.
"We encourage her to go outside and do things, but she'd rather have her eyes on him."
Beckett returned from hospital on Aubrey's fifth birthday, having spent a month inside undergoing chemotherapy, blood transfusions and platelet transfusions.
Kaitlin said it was confusing for Aubrey when Beckett would come home after his chemo, feeling tired and weak.
"Whenever he came home Aubrey was trying to work out why he didn't want to play - it wasn't like him," explains Kaitlin.
"She wondered why he was sleeping all the time and needed help to the bathroom. He would just be sick and he'd never been sick before."
Explaining the moment the photos were taken, Kaitlin says: "She didn't know what was happening, but she knew from experience that when she was sick, we would rub her back and help her through it.
"She just picked up from experience and took over. She'd rub his back and tell him it was going to be okay, clean his face up and wash his hands for him.
"Right after that happened, she also carried him back to the living room and put him on the couch.
"She asked me she could clean up the bathroom too, but I told her to go and sit down because that wasn't her job.
"She takes it upon herself to help and make sure everything he comes into contact with is clean. She's another set of eyes."
Aubrey, who started preschool this summer, will look at photos of her brother and ask questions about his illness.
"We've been very open with her so any questions that she ever has we talk through it with her, we explain it with Beckett in the room as well," says Kaitlin.
"He'll tell people 'I have cancer', he knows what he has. We make sure she's very supportive and knows it doesn't make him any different.
"She's always worried about where he is, what he's doing, who he's with. Her having to do things by herself was not something she was used to doing and she didn't want to do it."
Beckett, whose diagnosis started "overnight" with an ear infection is, expected to be on treatment for two more years.
In the mean time, he will have his loving family and doting sister by his side.
Get well soon, Beckett.
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media