These Siblings Are Battling Cancer Together for the 2nd Time & Refuse to Give Up on Each Other

Siblings with cancer
Liliane Hajjar/Facebook

Liliane Hajjar and Jason Randell have endured a hell that no parent should have to go through. Two out of their three kids -- their son Jacob and their daughter, Sophia -- were diagnosed with the same aggressive brain tumors when they were around the same age. However, these siblings from Canada aren't done fighting, because despite each pulling through their diagnoses the first time, they both received more devastating news just days apart from each other: Jacob now has kidney cancer and Sophia's brain tumor is back.

  • The siblings were diagnosed with brain tumors eight years apart.

    When Jacob was 5 years old, he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumor, atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor, that took surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to beat. After learning that this can be hereditary, his two younger siblings, Liam and Sophia, underwent genetic testing. The little girl tested positive for same gene mutation that caused her older brother's cancer.

    Jacob ultimately beat his cancer and went into remission, but when he was 13 and Sophia just 4, doctors discovered that she had a brain tumor in the exact same spot as Jacob's. "I'm like, 'Why her? Why not me, again?'" Jacob told CTV News after his sister's diagnosis. "Because if it was me again, I'd be able to do it, it wouldn't be too hard because I've already been through (it)."

    After Sophia went through surgery and radiation, her parents dared to believe that things were going to be okay. "One child diagnosed with cancer is devastating," Liliane said at the time, "but two is life changing."

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  • Both siblings have been in remission, but they were both recently re-diagnosed with cancer just days apart.

    Last week, Jacob, now 14, was diagnosed kidney cancer, and only days after his return to the hospital, their family found out that 5 year-old Sophia's tumor is back. "I will do everything in my power to guide them as best I can. As a mother, I love hard and my love is strong and that is what I will do for Jacob, Liam and Sophia," she wrote on Facebook. "This is not the life I imagined for them but it is what it is and we will walk with them every step of the way."

  • The siblings now share a hospital room, and this new reality is heartbreaking for their parents.

    "Jacob and Sophia, I love you, I am sorry for what life has forced upon you but you are not alone. You are never alone. You will be ok. Not now, not tomorrow but you will be ok. I love you with all that I have," she wrote on Facebook.

    Liliane admits that finding out that her family has to go through this a second time -- with both of her kids -- has shaken her faith. "Jason and I are at a loss for words and heartbreak doesn't even come close to how we feel. I'm tired now. My heart is tired, my soul is tired. This mother is so tired now, not sure where I will find the strength anymore," she wrote. "This is the most heartbreaking picture my eyes and heart have ever seen. I'm broken. We are all broken."

  • As Sophia and Jacob fight for their lives, all three siblings are there for each other.

    As Jacob prepared to start chemo, Sophia was being prepped for a 20-hour brain surgery, and unfortunately, this second fight is going to be even harder for her. But that doesn't keep her from rooting for her older brother. "The tumor is much bigger than the first time around ... It is unfortunately on the outside and inside of the brain and made it to her spine," Liliane wrote on Facebook. "It is devastating how fast and furious it grew back ... Sophia stays by Jacob's side and encourages him as he does his physio. His own little cheerleader by his side."

  • In between surgeries and treatments, the family is focused on cherishing every minute together.

    "We unhooked my babies today and took them outside. Jacob took his first breath of fresh crisp air for the first time since January 24th. We keep our focus on Jacob's recovery with the goal to bring him home in the near future," Liliane wrote in a Facebook update on March 4. "We will hope for the best for Sophia, we realize and acknowledge how bad it is now and will hold on to hope and believe in miracles. I have the most beautiful, amazing, strong, courageous children in the entire world!"

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  • Sophia's brain surgery ultimately had to be postponed, and although her family is preparing for the worst, they refuse to give up.

    "Sophia's surgery was postponed until tomorrow and unfortunately her body told us tomorrow was too late. They are not sure if Sophia started having seizures or suffered from hydrocephalus but it was a scary watching her come in and out of consciousness. We witnessed some scary things today and I have seen my children go through too many traumas," Liliane wrote in a GoFundMe page update on March 5. "An emergency drain has brought Sophia some temporary relief and she is resting comfortably in ICU now. Tomorrow she will go in for her surgery. Sophia, like her brother has been the definition of brave."

cancer siblings