Ashley Cain has said the time he spent with his daughter Azaylia was the “best eight months I’ve ever had”.
Azaylia Cain was just eight weeks old when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2020 and tragically lost her battle to the aggressive cancer at eight months old.
Now, as the anniversary of his daughter’s passing nears, the reality star has reflected on the precious moments he spent with Azaylia in an interview with Tyla.
“Even though these are the toughest periods of our lives, they’re also the most beautiful times of our lives,” the 31-year-old tells us.
“The eight months I had with my daughter were the best eight months I’ve ever had, and will ever have going forward in the future.”
Since his daughter passed away, Cain always “say[s] yes to any opportunity” that life throws at him - including his upcoming boxing match against YouTuber Andreas Eskander.
“After what I’ve been through, it’s hard for me to fear anything that this life can bring. He’s just another person standing in the way of being who I want to be.”
“This fight for me,” which is taking place at the Deji vs. Wassabi Showstar event on 5th March, “is more about fighting for my little girl.”
“It’s about honouring her fight, it’s about fighting for these other children that are fighting the monster that is cancer and it’s about showing people that no matter what you’re going through in life…You’re strong enough to stand up and fight.”
To step up and fight with thousands of eyes on you, is no easy battle, though.
“There is a lot of pressure for anyone stepping into the ring, also it takes a lot of courage to get into the ring,” Cain tells us.
Despite acknowledging the weight that he’s under to step into the ring, Cain is using his time there to honour the eight months that Azaylia fought on earth with an eight-round fight.
“I don’t want to let my daughter’s passing be in vain, I want to do some amazing things while I’m still on this planet to raise awareness and funds”, referring to The Aazylia Foundation, which was created in his daughter’s name to support UK-based children fighting cancer to access treatment abroad which are not available on the NHS.
Azaylia's parents launched the foundation in her memory when the youngster was still alive, long before they raised money for her intended treatment.
“Before I had my daughter, I wanted to get into the fighting game. Then after I had my daughter and the journey that we went through, everything changed. Everything had to have a purpose.
“Then I thought, if I fight, my daughter’s foundation can be a benefactor.”
Alongside his partner Safiyya Vorajee, 33, the couple “have huge plans” for their daughter’s foundation, including campaigning to make more children’s cancer treatments available in the UK.
Cain told us: “We started off with the ambition to help children reach their treatment goals which aren’t available on the NHS, and we still continue to do that.
“Then we realised that we could delve into cancer research, and equipment which we have [supported] with Birmingham Children’s Hospital.”
In August last year, the foundation made its first donation of £20,000 to that very hospital, where Azaylia was treated, as well as many other children for all types of childhood cancer.
Most recently, the foundation have “invested in a piece of equipment which helps operate on children’s tumours to improve the success rate.
“And now, with the amazing partnerships that we’re forming, we actually want to provide a place where children and families can receive these treatments here in the UK, so they don’t have to go abroad.”
They also want to support parents who are going through this with their own children, too.
“Being a parent, to know how painful that is that your child potentially has a chance if you can raise a certain amount of money, but you don’t know how you raise that certain amount is a horrible, horrible feeling.”
He added: “Some families actually like to talk to us on a personal basis because they don’t know how to deal with things and how to cope, so we just try to give them some inspiration, some motivation to get through every single day.”
Although the charity is under two years old, Cain is extremely passionate about its legacy.
“We’re a foundation in our infancy, but we’re doing everything we possibly can to make this as big and as powerful and help as many people as possible.
“We’ve invested so much time, so much thought process, so much heart into it that I really hope and I really believe that The Azaylia Foundation can make a difference in this world,” he concluded.
You can find out more about The Azaylia Foundation here.
For baby loss support contact Tommy's www.tommys.org
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