During the winter, illnesses are frequently experienced by people. Another common behavior is to put off visiting the doctor or hospital, especially if the only symptom is coughing.

Everyone has experienced getting sick, taking some time to recover, and then gradually getting well.

However, if you experience extended sickness and persistent symptoms, it may be a good idea to contact a medical helpline at least and seek guidance.

While it’s true that often your body can fend off the flu and cold without the help of a doctor, there are times when the cough you’re experiencing can be caused by something much more deadly than a simple virus.

Shayla Mitchell, 16, was experiencing a cough that would not go away and didn’t feel right. She initially believed that she might have developed sinusitis.

But one day, things became so horrible that she asked her father, Tom, to take her to the doctor.

He happily agreed, and after school the following day, he picked up his daughter and took her to the hospital. They even decided to go out to eat afterward.

After inspecting Shayla, the doctor briefly exited the room. He delivered a message when he returned that would change her life forever.

Shayla’s malignant tumor was so giant that it covered over two-thirds of her breasts. She had been feeling awful for so long and couldn’t stop coughing; it had even caused one of her lungs to collapse.

Despite the news, Shayla and her father decided to continue having dinner, even if they would naturally have to eat it at the hospital rather than a restaurant. They had no idea the next 450 meals would be at the Fairfax Hospital pediatric oncology unit.

The prognosis for Shayla’s advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma was not promising.

Tom decided to show his daughter that she had his support no matter what. He promised to wear his matching ring every day until Shayla survived the disease, so he went to the store and bought one for each of them.

Tom spent countless nights with his daughter over the ensuing years as they battled the horrible illness together.

Shayla underwent a heart arrest, hundreds of tests, blood transfusions, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. But she continued to struggle.

Tom felt discomfort as a result. He was brave with her while she sobbed, laughed, and threw up while holding his daughter’s hair.

Then the moment arrived when doctors realized there was nothing else they could do for Shayla. A bone marrow transplant had failed, and her body wasn’t reacting to the medication.

On the Love What Matters Facebook page, Tom posted the following:
He asked in his letter, “How in the world was I supposed to have this conversation with my darling daughter?”

“How on earth would I have the courage to tell my daughter that she would die? I once heard a saying that, to me, pretty much sums everything up. Can a guy be brave while yet being afraid?… The only time he CAN be brave is then.”

“For HER, I knew I had to show courage. As impossible as it may sound, I did have that talk with her, and it ended up being the most incredible, lovely, magical, great conversation I have ever had in my whole life—and one that I sincerely hope you NEVER EVER have to have.”

Tom’s daughter responded in a whisper after he finished speaking, asking, “Am I still brave, Dad?”

Tom then looked back into his daughter’s eyes and saw how much suffering she was experiencing. He realized she had been battling for him rather than for her all this time.

Shayla passed away a short while later. Tom was devastated, but he was confident in one thing: Shayla had battled long and hard; she had kept her word and fought bravely to the very end.

To commemorate Shayla and all the other kids who have died from cancer, kindly share this story with your Facebook friends.