Layla Grace, the beautiful 2-year-old who captured the attention of the social media-sphere, lost her battle with a rare form of cancer today, March 9. She will be dearly missed by her family as well as her more than 42,000 followers on Twitter and 28,000 fans on Facebook. Her short life was an inspiration.
For the past 11 months, Layla Grace Marsh had been suffering from stage-four, high-risk neuroblastoma, a large malignant tumor and one of the most common cancers in infancy. About half of all neuroblastoma cases occur in children under the age of 2, with nearly 650 new cases each year in the United States. Neuroblastoma frequently originates in one of the adrenal glands and is extremely difficult to cure.
The terrible tumor
Layla Grace's tumor was found in her small abdomen, wrapping across her whole body. The cancer also spread to her bone marrow. During her last several days her condition got worse, and she slept most of the time. Due to the pain, however, she cried when her parents tried to hold her.
Ryan and Shanna Marsh never failed to update her well-wishers through a Twitter account @LaylaGrace:
- March 7, 7:13 p.m.: "Layla hasn't woken up at all today. She slept through diaper & clothes changes, books, & me reading sweet cards that have been sent to her."
- March 8, 8:23 a.m.: "Layla is still sleeping. Occasionally she makes noises that indicate she's in pain, but she hasn't woken up in a few days."
- March 8, 11:17 a.m.: "Mommy is rocking Layla. She has only opened her eyes once today. Her feet are getting cold too."
- March 8, 5:39 p.m.: "Please continue 2 pray for peace for Layla. Her dad is in her room right now talking to her & comforting her. She is not doing well at all."
- Finally, on March 9: "Layla went to play with the angels early this morning. Rest in peace precious Layla. 11/26/2007 – 3/9/2010."
Why grief and suffering?
Our hearts go out to Ryan and Shanna Marsh and their two older daughters at this very difficult time. Indeed, suffering and death are not easy realities to accept, much less explain—especially when they involve someone so young and so innocent. Perhaps there are many likewise grappling right now with these hard questions:
- Why does God allow innocent people to suffer?
- Why did God allow precious Layla to die?
- What happens after death?
- Is Layla in heaven right now, playing with the angels?
- Or is she unconscious, awaiting a future resurrection, wherein she will be brought back to life, completely healed of every trace of cancer?
We need not assume nor wonder about the answers. Our all-knowing Creator God has already revealed the answers to us in His Book, the Holy Bible—if we will only believe it and study what it says.
Suffering, sickness, pain and death are realities in this present evil world we live in. But there is a future world coming—the Kingdom of God—when all suffering, sickness, pain and death will be abolished. Jesus Christ will call out and resurrect Layla Grace and countless others like her, and they will live again!
"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
To understand more from the Bible about suffering and a future life, read "The Mystery of Death." VT