AT just eight months old, little Azaylia Diamond Cain is battling for her life – and the world is fighting with her.
Over the last few days, landmarks around the globe, including Niagara Falls, the Blackpool Tower and Toronto’s CN Tower, have turned orange for Azaylia, who is suffering from an aggressive form of leukaemia.
The London Eye has confirmed it will follow suit later this week.
Celebrities have clapped on their doorsteps, just like we did during the first lockdown for our NHS heroes.
And thousands of supporters have raised more than £1.5million in an attempt to fund life-saving treatment.
Her parents, reality star and former Coventry City player Ashley Cain, 30, and his girlfriend Safiyya Vorajee, who use #GoChamp on their social media posts, have been overwhelmed by the response.
Azaylia was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia eight weeks after she was born last August.
Since then, Ashley, who has appeared on MTV’s Ex On The Beach, and Saffiya, 23, have devoted themselves to filling whatever time they have left with their only child with love and happiness.
This weekend, they set up a special transparent pod in their garden in Warwickshire, so they could spend the evening stargazing with their “likkle lion”.
Earlier in the day, a plane flew overhead, drawing a vapour trail heart and letter “A” in the sky.
Saffiya posted a picture of the three of them watching it, describing how her “heart filled with pride as I held you in my arms with daddy”.
On Sunday, the couple shared their joy at seeing Azaylia smile — “which was worth more than anything money can buy” — and how their baby had managed to open her eyes for the first time in days despite swelling to her face and bloody tears.
Doctors have now said she may have just days to live.
Ashley wrote: “As a parent it’s the hardest thing in the world to see your child like this, at home, with the painful inevitable fate pending.
“For some insane reason though I still have some crazy belief she will still be with us next week, the week after that and the week after that.”
The family have not shied away from showing every aspect of Azaylia’s journey, from a picture of a morning’s medication-filled syringes to detailing a lumbar puncture and four-hour blood transfusion.
It is incredible little Azaylia has got this far. Doctors warned there was a “high probability” she would not survive her first round of chemotherapy soon after diagnosis.
But the brave tot proved them wrong, undergoing three rounds of chemo before having a bone marrow transplant.
Because of Azaylia’s mixed heritage, Ashley and Saffiya had been told there was less likelihood of finding a bone marrow match. So they turned to social media and called for people to register as donors.
Not only did they find a match for Azaylia, but more than 80,000 people signed up to the register in one weekend — more than donor charities had received in a year.
On site GoFundMe, Ashley and Saffiya paid tribute to their daughter’s bravery, saying: “She radiates a sheer love for life and battles through every stage with the most endearing smile on her face and strength in her heart.”
Sadly, traces of leukaemia remained after the transplant, and Azaylia relapsed. In March, she had another round of chemo and supporters raised more than £1million in just 16 hours for life-saving treatment in Singapore.
The family hoped she could undergo revolutionary CAR-T therapy, which reprogrammes the body’s cells to target cancers.
But, devastatingly, doctors in the UK discovered the disease has caused tumours in her spleen, liver, lungs, kidneys and brain, which means her condition cannot be treated. More than 116,000 people donated to her fundraising campaign.
Ashley and Saffiya have said any extra cash will go to helping other children and their families in a similar situation. On April 9, Ashley posted a picture of his daughter having her last bath in hospital, tubes winding out of her chest and nose.
Nine days earlier, consultants had given her one to two days to live.
He wrote: “She has fought a battle that not many, if any, of us could have endured and she’s earned the love and respect of many on the way. Even through the hardest and saddest time of my life, she has found a way to make it better.”
Azaylia has touched the hearts of showbiz stars and strangers alike. Hollywood actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sent a personal video message in which he said: “You tell that little lion, let’s go champ and stay strong.”
In the same week, a man called Keith Wood, who moved to Canada from Birmingham, travelled to see Niagara Falls lit up in orange — the colour of the acute myelogenous leukaemia awareness ribbon — after hearing about Azaylia’s plight from his family in the UK.
He said: “I just had to go and see it and give it my support.”
Last Tuesday, celebrities including Loose Women’s Stacey Solomon and ex-footballer Peter Crouch and wife Abbey Clancy joined the family’s call for a “memory they’d never forget” with a nationwide clap.
Ashley’s fellow Ex On The Beach star Charlotte Dawson, the daughter of late comic Les who recently gave birth to son Noah, clapped, too.
She wrote: “I’m holding on to Noah that much tighter. I pray for a miracle, I really do.”
Hours later, Azaylia was taken to hospital after her heart rate soared.
She is now back at home, where Ashley has taken joy from the little milestones most parents take for granted, like walking her down their street in her pushchair for the first time.
At the weekend, Saffiya posted an image of the three of them, with a picture of a lion.
She wrote: “No words can compare to how proud I am of you Azaylia, being a mummy has changed my life.”
One of Ashley’s latest Instagram posts illustrates, with painful honesty, the heartbreak.
He wrote: “I feel broken, scared and worried all of the time. But I am finding strength in trying to be the best father I can be.”
Yesterday, Saffiya revealed Azaylia is going back into hospital for a platelet transfusion to help clot her blood and prevent her “bleeding out”.
The brave tot was seen in the post wearing eye patches.
Ashley had earlier said he spends “hours upon hours” dabbing Azaylia’s swollen eyes with a cold towel so she can open her eyes “even for a few minutes”.
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On Monday, the couple posted a video of their little daughter sleeping, with her breath coming in ragged wheezes. And in the background, Saffiya is heard urging her, “Come on champ, keep going.”
This is a plea shared by many people around the world who have been so touched by this beautiful little girl.