Nurse Captures Tear-Jerking Photo as Parents Comfort Daughter Dying in Daddy's Arms


For two years, 5-year-old Zoey Catherine Daggett battled against a rare, incurable brain tumor. On July 4, in the comfort of her own home and the security of her father’s arms, Zoey took her final breath.

It was a day that Zoey’s parents, Casey and Ben Daggett, knew would arrive eventually.

“We’ve had two years to prepare for this but it’s never — it’s never enough,” said Casey Daggett.

The Daggett’s first suspected something was wrong after Zoey fell at a park, leaving her limping clumsily around. Their concern grew a week later when Zoey began losing mobility in her hand.

A trip to the emergency room resulted in the devastating diagnosis: Zoey had a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma tumor.

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The brain cancer usually affects children aged 4-10 and has less than a 1 percent chance of survival, according to Zoey’s mom.

So Ben and Casey spent the next two years doing what any loving parent would do: trying anything and everything to give their daughter a chance at life.

They even sought treatment for Zoey in Germany after exhausting all their options in the U.S.

They helped Zoey write a bucket list, and delighted as she checked off as many items as possible. She met Disney princesses, tried her hand at cheerleading, and attended kid camps.

“We traveled the world for Zo,” Casey said. “We made sure that she saw everything that she wanted to see because she wasn’t going to be able to when she got older.”

In late June, Zoey’s health began to rapidly decline. Her parents knew the end was near and opened their home to friends and family to visit Zoey while there was still time.

“She was a ball of fun,” Casey said.

Always, Zoey had been a fun, spunky little girl, a child with endless energy who soaked up time with her parents.

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On July 4, a nurse captured a photo of Zoey’s final moment with her parents. They’d put on one of her favorite movies, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” and snuggled together on the couch.

“Midway through the movie that was it,” Ben said.

It’s a moment Zoey’s parents won’t forget. But now, their efforts are shifting to celebrate their daughter’s life in a way Zoey would have loved.

“Zoey is going to be shared with the world,” her parents shared on Facebook. “Her love and light have been abundent (sic) and we will continue to pay it forward and share love and light with the world.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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