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Brylee's wings: An intimate account of one little girl's struggle to survive

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 2:17 a.m. MDT

3-year-old Brylee Olson looks at a fire engine on a school field in Price, Utah, on Oct. 17, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) 3-year-old Brylee Olson looks at a fire engine on a school field in Price, Utah, on Oct. 17, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

The room was still, a quiet moment after the whirlwind that began with the rhythmic thumping of an MRI, the rustling of doctor's notes and admittance papers, and the hiss of the oxygen tube.

Lara Olson clung to her daughter, rocked her gently and began to cry.

"I don't want you to leave me," she said in quiet whisper.

Brylee Olson glanced up at her mother from cradled arms, her large blue eyes glassy, her voice unable to pass from paralyzed vocal cords. The muscles in her face were also stilled, leaving her unable to comfort her grieving mother. Brylee reached for her mother's hand.

How do you tell your 2-year-old daughter she is going to die? How do you know what her reaction will be? What could it be?

"You have a brain tumor and you're going to die and go see Heavenly Father," her mother said, muting the sharpness of the words with the softness of a still voice. What followed was a conversation without words — the first of many between a mother and daughter.

Read the rest of this intimate portrait, and see photos and videos of Brylee and her family in this special Deseret News interactive story.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company