On In Photography

The Journey Photos Of A 10 YO Cancer Patient With His Mother Are Epitome Of Motherly Love

If anything, we'd like to suggest readers reading this particular article to just have a moment of self-reflection and count his/her blessings. It might seem a mundane thing to do but trust us it isn't because life can turn on a dime. Derek Mansen was a 10-year-old boy from Sacremento, California. His life was going well until in 2005, when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an extremely rare form of cancer which mostly affects children. Determined to conquer the disease, he and his mother embarked on a journey to conquer it, as photographed by the photographer Renée C. Byer. The photographs captured an incredible range of emotions and no wonder won the Pulitzer Prize. So after going through the photos, you might even feel motivated and want to help children like Derek. 


In this photo, we can see Cindy taking Derek for a walk to make him happy. According to WNews, This is pictured in UC Davis Medical Center where Derek was waiting for his bone marrow test results to see whether he's eligible for a transplant or not.

Derek receives the news.

In this photo, Cindy is confronting Derek in a quiet manner telling him about his cancer and the fact that that he'll need day and night care. Cindy closed her saloon to stay with Derek.


In this picture, Cindy is giving Derek a hug after she broke the news that he'll be needing an operation to remove the tumor from his abdomen. 

He's playful.

Despite being a terminally-ill patient, Derek was a kid at heart and loved to surprise his mother. In this photo, Cindy is trying to get him down from a ledge. 

The operation.

In this photo, we can see Cindy in the operation theater where Derek was being administered anesthesia. She was allowed till Derek was being administered but as soon as the anesthesia kicked in, she had to leave.

Moral support. 

Derek's brother Micah was always in his support. In this photo, he's consoling Derek by holding his hand as he is being prepared for radiation treatment. 


It was only natural for Derek to feel demoralized. Despite being braver than a lion, at the end of the day, he was a human, and he had limits too. In this photo, Cindy is consoling him as he's demoralized, wanting to go home.

Little joys.

Cindy made a deal with Derek that she'll let her son drive the car if he doesn't refuse to continue the treatment. Derek obliged, however, few hours after this photo was taken, Cindy received a call from the doctor stating Derek has a short time to live. 

Cancer marking its presence felt.

The cancer spread aggressively and as a result, he was left with a tumor in his left eye. To cheer him up, the servers from his favorite restaurant wrote him a note, hung on the wall.

Cindy and her friend console each other.

In this photo, we can see Cindy and her best friend Kelly console each other as Derek didn't have much time left and was growing weaker by the day. Cindy tried to control her emotions in front of Derek but sometimes, it just wasn't possible.


In this photo, we can see Cindy guiding Derek as he's mustering every bit of his strength to walk. The tumor got so bad that it started to bloat his stomach. Another tumor in his head started affecting his sight and balance.

Benefit event.

By this time, Derek became too weak to walk. Cindy spent 24 hours by his side and in this photo, she's seeing giving her brave son a kiss during a benefit event.

Last few moments.

Derek became too weak and could hardly speak. In this photo, we can see his caregiver preparing to give him a sedative that'll allow him to sleep peacefully forever. Imagine being a mother and witness that. We salute your bravery, Cindy.

Final farewell.

Surrounded by the loved ones, Cindy said her final farewell to her son, she sang his favorite song and kissed him goodbye.  


On May 19, 2006, Derek was laid to rest and it was Cindy who led the procession. At his gravesite, Cindy was quoted saying “I will forever carry your memory in my heart and remind others to give their time, energy and support to other families like ours.”.Images like these, make us appreciate the joys we have in life. Make sure you like, comment and share the content with your friends too to make them realize the same.