Safiyya Vorajee is reflecting on grief, three days after she and boyfriend Ashley Cain lost their 8-month-old daughter, Azaylia, to a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.
“Everyday (sic) is getting harder but Azaylia has taught me strength and courage,” Vorajee wrote on her Instagram story. “A special Thankyou to beautiful Azaylia for teaching all of us the true meaning of life.”
On Tuesday, Vorajee shared a heartbreaking open letter to Azaylia. In the note, she opened up about the agony of starting a new day without her baby.
“Morning time not seeing your beautiful smile hurts so deep inside,” she began. “I miss you so so much. words fail to explain the heartache.”
Cain, who appeared on MTV’s “The Challenge: War of the Worlds,” thanked Azaylia for giving his life purpose.
“You made me a better man. You made me the person I’ve wanted to be. You’ve taught me more in your 8 months than I’ve learned my whole life,” Cain, 30, wrote in an Instagram on Monday. “I don’t know why you’ve been taken away from me and my heart aches in your absence.”
The former soccer player said that Azaylia will always be a part of him, no matter where he goes.
“I will carry your name across every ocean, along every road, to the top of every mountain and across the whole globe,” he promised. “Your name will live, your legacy will be remembered and I will seek peace in living as your vessel to continue inspiring, giving strength, spreading joy and saving lives in your name, with your spirit, as your father until we meet again.”
Cain and Vorajee welcomed Azaylia in Aug. 2020. In October, he shared the somber news that the newborn was battling acute myeloid leukemia. The disease, also known as AML, is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes a large number of abnormal white cells, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Myeloid leukemia is the second most common pediatric blood cancer, but it’s still relatively rare. In the United States, there are roughly 500 children a year between the ages of 0 and 14 that are diagnosed with AML, according to Dr. Richard Aplenc, a physician-scientist within the Division of Oncology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Earlier this month, doctors told Cain and Vorajee that Azaylia was too ill to continue treatment.
"She's had a tough, tough life," Cain revealed in an emotional Instagram video on April 8. "From 8 weeks old she's been in hospital, having chemotherapy, operations, transplants, and I feel like for the last part of her life I just want to take her home, treat her like a baby, and give her the best rest of her life that we can give her."
Azaylia passed away two weeks later, on April 24.