A girl who didn't stop coughing asked her father to take her to the hospital - within hours the terrible truth was discovered
It's not uncommon for people to get sick during the winter months. It is also quite common for people to delay a visit to the doctor, especially if their symptoms include only a cough.
We've all been there: when we're sick, we take the time to rest and slowly feel better.
If the symptoms do not go through, and we still feel ill for a long time, then it may be a good idea to see a doctor.
Although it is true that your body is usually strong enough to fight the flu or cold without medication, in some cases the cough you experience can be something much more serious than just a virus.
16-year-old Shayla Mitchell didn't feel very well, and suffered a cough that refused to disappear. At first, she thought she might have sinusitis.
But one day it got so severe that she asked her father, Tom, to take her to see a doctor.
He of course agreed, and the next day, he picked her up from school and took her to the hospital. They even made plans to go to the restaurant afterwards.
Shayla was examined and the doctor left the room for a while. When he returned, he did so with a message that would change her life forever.
Shayla had a tumor so big that it took over two-thirds of her chest. It caused one of her lungs to stop functioning, which is why she felt so bad for so long and why she didn't stop coughing.
Despite the news, Shayla and her father decided nevertheless to go to dinner, but they had to eat it at the hospital instead of the restaurant, as they originally planned. At that time, they had no idea that their next 450 meals would be in the hospital's oncology department.
Shayla suffered from Hodgkin's lymphoma in advanced condition, and the diagnosis was not good.
Tom decided to make a gesture to show his daughter that she would always have his support. He went to the store and bought matching bracelets for each of them, promising to wear it every day until Shayla beat the cancer.
Over the next few years, Tom spent hundreds of nights together with his daughter while fighting together with the damn disease.
Shayla underwent hundreds of examinations, blood transfusions, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and one heart attack ... but she didn't stop fighting.
For Tom, it was agonizing. He held his daughter's hair while she vomited, cried with her, laughed with her, and was brave with her.
So, the day came when the doctors accepted that there was nothing more that can be done for Shayla. Her body didn't respond to the treatments and the bone marrow transplant failed.
Here's what Tom wrote on Facebook:
"How in the world am I supposed to have this conversation with my daughter?" He wrote. "How the hell would I be brave enough to tell my daughter that she was going to die? I once heard a quote summarizing for me: 'Can a man be brave if he is afraid? ... This is the only time he can be brave'".
"I knew I had to be brave for her! Of course I had this conversation with her, and however unreliable it may sound, it turned out to be the most amazing, beautiful, magical, and wonderful conversation I've ever had in my life, and a conversation I hope you'll never have to manage ...".
When Tom finished talking, his daughter whispered back to him: "Am I still brave Dad?".
That was the moment Tom looked into his daughter's eyes and saw the pain she was in. She had fought for so long, and he realized it was not for her - but for him.
A few days later, Shayla passed away. Tom was broken, but he knew one thing: Shayla had fought courageously for a long time - she had kept her promise and was brave to the end.
You can read more about Tom and Shayla's story on a website Tom have dedicated to his daughter's memory - at stillbrave.org.
If you were moved from this story like we were, please share the story with your friends to honor the memory of Shayla and all the children who died of cancer.