PITTSBURGH - A photo of two little girls embracing each other during their battles with cancer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has gone viral.
Maliyah Jones, 5, and Madelina DeLuca hadn’t known each other for long when the touching moment was captured by Jones’ mother.
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“We just met that day. Maliyah ran up to her. They were hugging and looking out the window and I asked, ‘Can I take a picture of them.’ And I took the picture and that was it,” Tazz Jones told Channel 11’s Lisa Sylvester.
The photo has since been shared and commented on thousands of times on social media.
Maliyah Jones was diagnosed with neuroblastoma after a tumor was found growing in her abdomen at 2 years old. She has since undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy and will start receiving specialty treatment at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York this week.
DeLuca was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, also at the age of 2.
Despite the hardships, Tazz Jones reflects on the friendships they have made along the way, including at Children’s Hospital.
“There’s always someone there, always a friend. Children helping children is always the best support because they don’t know,” said Tazz Jones. “I’ve helped mothers get through their child being diagnosed, and they’ve helped me.”
Sylvester spoke with Maliyah Jones, who said, “Hi. Bye. Pray for me.”
Tazz Jones wants people who see the picture of her daughter and DeLuca to take away a new sense of hope.
“I’m hoping the whole city has seen it, people outside of the city, all over the world -- not just for Maliyah’s story, but for other families going through this,” she said.
A fundraiser has been set up for Maliyah Jones. Click HERE to donate.
Donations for Madelina DeLuca can be made HERE.