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Daughter Is Painting Adorable Custom Pet Portraits to Raise Money for Dad’s Cancer Treatment

Rylee Black remembers the day it all changed, when she and her father were enjoying a day of camping. Instead of picturing it as a day filled with family memories, nature, and the outdoors, she remembers it as the day her father found a hole in his throat.

Rylee Black and her father, Shawn, during a camping trip to Stone Mountain, Georgia
Rylee Black and her father, Shawn, during a camping trip to Stone Mountain, Ga. (Photo: Rylee Black)

“We got scared,” Black, 20, tells Yahoo Beauty. “We didn’t know what it was, so he scheduled an appointment with the doctor.”

As a result, Black’s father was diagnosed with stage IV throat cancer. That was two years ago.

Shawn Black in treatment
(Photo: Rylee Black)

“Throughout the whole process my dad has only shown me strength,” she says. “I love and care for him very much.”

Her father, a mechanic, had to stop working because of the illness. Her mother is a hairdresser who works from home.

“My mom has become his caretaker. She makes sure he goes to all the appointments and she’s always on top of what medicine he needs to take,” she says. “She is the backbone of our family.”

Black’s family and friends have been emotionally and financially supportive throughout the past two years. However, money was beginning to thin out to pay for the expensive cancer treatments, and they stopped receiving donations.

“I noticed my dad’s spirits were down,” Black says. “As a daughter it was so hard for me. He’s my hero — I just want him to be happy and get well.”

An artist since she was very young, she decided to put her skills and talents to use to help her family the best way she knew how.

Two of Rylee Black's pet portraits
(Photo: Rylee Black)

Early this month, she tweeted, “My dad has stage 4 head and neck cancer and I’m raising money for his medical bills by doing custom paintings. Please spread the word.”

Black offers personalized pet portraits in return for donations to her father’s YouCaring page.

Her effort to raise funds for her cancer-sick father’s treatment went viral. The original post currently has nearly 16,000 retweets and more than 15,000 likes.

Black is overwhelmed by the response to her tweet but thankful it happened.

Black says she will get little sleep in the next few weeks, as she will be pulling all-nighters filling all the commissions for dog portraits from donors to her father’s YouCaring page.

Pet portraits created by Rylee Black
Pet portraits created by Rylee Black. (Photo: Rylee Black)

“I’m so happy my dad is smiling again. This whole thing has been such a blessing,” she says. “People have shared with me similar stories and it makes me feel that he can overcome this — I am positive he’s going to be OK.”

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