Influencer Ashley Stock's Daughter, 3, Dies of Brain Cancer: She 'Took Her Final Breath in Our Arms'
"For now, I'm overwhelmed with relief that she’s at peace but I'm also feeling crushed by a pain so intense I can't put it into words," wrote Ashley Stock.
Social media influencer and blogger Ashley Stock’s 3-year-old daughter has died, just over a month after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumor.
Stock shared the devastating news on Friday in an emotional Instagram post, writing that her daughter “took her final breath in our arms” on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m.
“For now, I’m overwhelmed with relief that she’s at peace but I’m also feeling crushed by a pain so intense I can’t put it into words,” she wrote. “I let it out a bit at a time, like when you gently twist the lid off a liter soda bottle...releasing the built up pressure a little at a time to keep it from exploding all over the place. I guess it’s like that. I’m twisting the lid on my grief gently. Because if I release it all at once, I don’t see how I could possibly survive.”
“We have complete faith in there being a greater purpose of this tragedy (and it’s already unfolding through your stories of renewed hope), but unfortunately, faith is not a ‘get out of pain free’ card, and that’s okay,” she continued. “I don’t know how to do this, so for now we’ll continue one day at a time held by the grace of God, the support of loved ones and the prayers of strangers who have become friends.”
Doctors first discovered that Stevie had a “large mass on her brain” after she was hospitalized on April 11.
“I don’t have words,” Stock wrote in an emotional Instagram post at the time. “Last night our almost three year old daughter, Stevie was admitted to the hospital due to rapidly declining motor function.”
Due to coronavirus restrictions, only one parent was allowed to accompany Stevie. Stock’s husband Ben stayed at home with their two sons, Wesley, 10, and Sawyer, 7.
“After several tests, a social worker came and escorted me to a private room where 4 doctors sat waiting. My stomach sank as I accepted the box of tissues handed to me and they delivered the news that our sweet baby girl has a large mass on her brain,” she wrote.
Two days later, Stock shared the news that their daughter’s tumor “is a form of cancer called DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma). And it has a 0% survival rate.”
“We are shattered. Broken. Gutted,” she wrote. “We will be spending the rest of the week in the hospital to discuss treatments that will make the rest of her life more comfortable. Then we will be headed home where she can be comfortable with her brothers and puppies and we can cherish our sweet girl and heal as a family.”
DIPG is a type of tumor found in the brainstem, which typically presents itself in children between the ages of 5 and 7, according to DIPG.org.
Just days before her death, the family commemorated Stevie's third birthday.
“I’m so grateful we celebrated early because these days she’s hurting,” Stock wrote on May 15, alongside a touching tribute to her daughter. “Today she stays on the couch in her cozy little corner. Today she gets flush with pain and grabs her head and closes her eyes with a grimace. Today she has seizures and tremors and lethargy.”
“Her verbal communication abilities are declining more each day but the way she communicates with her eyes holds a wisdom and a knowing far beyond my own. She doesn’t know what’s happening, but she KNOWS what’s happening. And she is brave as hell,” Stock continued.
News of Stevie’s death came days after Stock dedicated a post to her mother, who had come to visit her granddaughter.
“Having her here has given me permission to break open in ways that only a mother can pull out of you,” she wrote in a post shared on May 27, before her daughter’s death. “Her comfort, the way she makes sandwiches, her familiar smell and her soft back scratching have always been a comfort to my aching soul.”
Included in the post was a recent video, which showed Stevie having a “rare lucid moment to welcome her grandma.”
“Today, Stevie is non responsive but still breathing. We are huddling close to her and filling her with endless love and affirmations that she is cherished, that she will be at peace, that she will be pain free, that we will miss her but we will celebrate her every day for the rest of our lives until we are with her again,” Stock continued.