A photo of Florida twin babies embracing one another in a ventilator has gone viral. But now, one of those babies has passed away.
The photo of Mason Buchmeyer hugging his twin brother, Hawk, went viral on Facebook, garnering more than 120,000 likes and nearly 30,000 shares, WHP reported. The picture shows Mason smiling as he reaches for Hawk’s arm inside of a ventilator.
Brandy Guettler, the twin babies’ mother, said Hawk needed comforting.
"He was actually getting really fussy,” Guettler told WHP. “And the nurse said why don't you try laying him down next to Hawk. I said, ‘Can you do that?’ So we laid him there and all of the sudden, as soon as he felt Hawk, he reached his arm out and grabbed him and just started to smile. The two of them knew they were there for each other.”
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“We posted the picture for people to see how they were doing since we were so far away at Shands in Gainesville,” Tommy Buchmeyer, Hawk and Mason's father, added. "Every day the numbers grow. 5.6 million people have seen it. 24,000 shares. 105,000 likes."
The picture even reached people from countries all around the world.
"We didn't expect it to take off the way it has,” Tommy said. “We have been contacted from Ireland, Scotland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, people from all over.”
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Hawk was intubated at Shands Hospital in Gainesville. He was diagnosed with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH), a rare condition in which a hole in the diaphragm allows abdominal organs to move to the chest, resulting in underdeveloped lungs.
"The whole ordeal is as bad as you can get," Tommy explained. ”The doctors aren’t giving us false hope. We know it’s a long shot.”
The family kept Facebook users updated with posts on Hawk’s condition while the boy suffered kidney failure and other medical problems.
"He has flat-lined twice. And 3 o’clock in the morning is very heart-wrenching when you have to snatch him up and get to the vehicle as fast as possible," Brandy said. “It’s so difficult because I’m his mom and I can’t hold him.”
On Sept. 7, Hawk passed away. The family now hopes to spread awareness about CDH.
“Our hearts are saddened this morning as our sweet little man was called home to be with Jesus,” the family wrote. “He went very peacefully and we know he's no longer suffering. Please give us some time to grieve and try to start the healing process.”
Less than 1,600 cases of CDH are reported a year.