This heartbreaking photo shows a caring little boy kiss his cancer-stricken older brother as he fights the disease.
Luca Feno-McBride, now six, was always hugely protective of Rocco, 5, who has non-verbal autism.
He took on the role of speaking and communicating for his younger brother and did not allow his mum Carla to ever tell Rocco off.
Luca would sneak treats for Rocco and sing lullabies to him every bedtime in doting affection.
But their roles were reversed when the older sibling was tragically diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2019.
Carla, 40, has said the pair have become each other’s “best medicine” since the harrowing news turned their young lives upside down.
When Luca was forced to undergo gruelling surgery on a cancer ward, Rocco overcame his own fear of hospitals to visit his brother.
He spent his time sitting on Luca’s bed, cuddling him and bringing him gifts – just like Luca once did for him.
Single mum Carla, of Manchester, said: “The boys have been each other’s best medicine. Without each really, neither one would have coped.
“Their relationship is so sweet – they are just a year apart and everyone comments how cute they are. Rocco looks after Luca, and Luca looks after him.
“Luca speaks for Rocco and communicates all his needs. He even puts on a funny voice, which is how he imagines Rocco would sound.
“He is very protective too – I am not even allowed to tell Rocco off without him going mad!
“But their roles were reversed after Luca was diagnosed with the tumour.
“After Luca had surgery, he was paralysed down his right side and he needed lots of help to get back on his feet.
“Rocco is frightened of hospitals, but he overcame that so that he could visit his brother. He does not like human contact, but he would give Luca big cuddles and take him in a Happy Meal.
“They have helped each other through such major trauma and I am so proud of them.”
Rocco does not like touching people due to having autism, but puts his phobias to one side so he can hug his poorly brother.
She says: “We had known for some time that he was autistic. He doesn’t like changes to routine, doesn’t like people touching him or invading his space, and he has no language at all.
“Luca absolutely compensates – he talks for Rocco and sneaks him extra chicken nuggets and sweets. He has a ‘Rocco’ voice which he uses when he talks for him.
“Every night, he sings ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ for Rocco to get him to sleep.”
He was diagnosed with non-verbal autism early last year, after Carla had been pushing for tests.
And then the family were hit by another challenge when Luca, then aged four, began suffering a squint in his right eye.
When the tot began losing his balance as well, Carla took him for a check-up which led to the devastating diagnosis.
“We were shell-shocked. I just couldn’t believe it could happen to my lovely little boy. We were told he would die without surgery,” the mum said.
The brave youngster underwent six hours of surgery last June followed by radiotherapy at a clinic in Germany, followed by chemotherapy in the UK.
Carla says: “The surgery left him paralysed down his left side and he needed lots of physio to get him walking again.
“He was so resilient and so smiley.
“He had so much crap thrown at him, but he just kept bouncing back.
“Rocco is terrified of hospitals and doctors, but he overcame that to visit Luca and cuddle him, and that meant the world to Luca. It really brightened him up and I feel Rocco played a huge role in his recovery.”
Little Luca had his wish of trip to Disney World Florida scuppered earlier this year due to the pandemic which meant the overseas flight had to be cancelled.
While he battled the disease the kind youngster also raised money for other poorly children through the Make-a-Wish
After helping the charity get £6,600 in donations, they granted him a chance to visit the huge attraction.
Although the trip was cancelled, Luca’s family wrote on the GoFundMe page: “Nevertheless this boy deserves the world so I will continue to fundraise and he will get to Disney World Florida.”
Luca has now completed his nine month course of chemotherapy and the family hope he can now look forward to a healthy future – and get the trip of his dreams.
Carla says: “Now he is home again, they are together again. It is lovely to see; they rely on each other.”