Ashley Cain and his partner Safiyya Vorajee honoured their late daughter Azaylia with an epic Lion King-themed party following her emotional funeral on Friday.
The Ex On The Beach star, 30, and clinician, 35, gathered their nearest and dearest for the huge get together, in which mourners danced, drank and laughed while surrounded by incredible decor honouring the little girl.
Azaylia passed away last month aged just eight months following a brave battle with acute myeloid leukaemia, following her diagnosis with the rare condition aged just two months.
Azaylia’s final farewell: Ashley Cain and his partner Safiyya Vorajee honoured their late daughter Azaylia with an epic, Lion King-themed party following her emotional funeral on Friday (Ashley pictured with family)
After chronicling her battle on their respective social media accounts throughout her short life, brave Ashley and Safiyya, along with their family, documented the celebration of their beloved girl with a series of incredible insights into the day, in which they partied alongside their supporters.
Azaylia’s image was projected around the marquee, which was filled with balloons and laden with Lion King-themed decorations in a nod to the tot’s nickname ‘Lickle Lion’.
A firework display concluded the evening, with the music from the Disney song playing during the display.
One of Azaylia’s aunties, Nieki, took to Instagram to share pictures from the emotional day and penned a heartbreaking message.
In her honour: The Ex On The Beach star, 30, and clinician gathered their nearest and dearest for the huge get together, in which mourners danced, drank and laughed while surrounded by incredible decor honouring the little girl
‘Likkle Lion’: Azaylia passed away last month aged just eight months following a brave battle with acute myeloid leukaemia, following her diagnosis with the rare condition aged just two months (pictured in February)
It read: ‘This is family. This is love. This is us. The hardest morning of our lives was followed by the most incredible celebration for the most unbelievably precious and special member of our tribe.
‘A little girl, with a lion heart whose both strength and softness will lay within us all till we reach the other side. . . Mummy & Daddy, you did us so proud.
‘I hope you continue to feel your sisters, brothers, cousins, parents, uncle and aunties love and strength as we walk beside, behind and with you always. . . #FamilyOverEverything.’
During the cortège earlier in the day, crowds lined the streets of the family’s resident Nuneaton and showed their love by clapping and cheering for Azaylia during the 15-minute journey.
Support: After chronicling her battle on their respective social media accounts throughout her short life, brave Ashley and Safiyya, pictured centre left, along with their family, documented the celebration of their beloved girl with a series of incredible insights into the day, in which they partied alongside their supporters
Emotional: A firework display concluded the evening, with the music from the Disney song playing during the display
Touching tributes: Inside the venue, a tree was adorned with pink and white flowers with a rainbow balloon arch outside
In a symbolic reference to Azaylia’s nickname ‘Likkle Lion’ as well as myeloid leukaemia being represented by the colour orange, four white horses wore bright orange feathers and were draped in covers bearing her name.
Ashley and his male friends and family wore tangerine coloured ties and pocket squares, while Safiyya had gold letters which spelled Azaylia’s name in her hair.
Flowers surrounded her coffin, while a floral tribute of her name and Lion King toys were displayed in a hearse which followed the horse-drawn carriage. Ahead of the funeral, Safiyya shared a photo of her nails which were patterned with angel wings, the Lion King cubs and Azaylia.
Support: Safiyya, centre, was supported by her closest friends and family during the emotional day
Parents: Safiyya and Ashley were seen sharing a dance during the emotional day in memory of their little girl
Family: One of Azaylia’s aunties, Nieki, took to Instagram to share pictures from the emotional day and penned a heartbreaking message
As she listened to Mariah Carey’s When You Believe, she wrote: ‘My tribute nails to look at you all day. My heart is aching so hard. I’m so nervous for today but I promise I will do you proud baby.’
Safiyya added: ‘My guardian angel. My daughter Azaylia Diamond Cain. Mummy holds you in my heart forever.’
Earlier this week, Safiyya said she was touched when she saw residents had decorated the streets with orange ribbon after she released details of the funeral procession.
Respects: The marquee was decorated in pink flowers and ribbons for Azaylia
Touching: A rainbow balloon arch could be seen as well as lion and heart balloons inside the venue
Azaylia was diagnosed with the rare and aggressive cancer when she was just two-months-old, after being turned away by doctors three times.
She spent the majority of her life in hospital, undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy and stem cell treatment.
In April, the couple were told Azaylia only had a few days to live as they discovered tumours in her stomach, her spleen, her liver and her kidneys, in addition to tumours in her brain, and she tragically died later that month.
The couple announced last week their daughter’s day of rest would be on Friday and encouraged people to pay tribute to her on ‘Azaylia Day’.
Always in our hearts: Ashley and his partner Safiyya broke down in tears during their baby daughter Azaylia’s funeral procession on Friday morning
Heartbreaking: A floral tribute of her name and Lion King toys were displayed in a hearse which followed the horse-drawn carriage
Princess of our hearts: Crowds lined the streets as the eight-month-old was given a beautiful send off in a white horse-drawn carriage
They wrote: ‘Azaylia’s Day. We would like to thank everyone for their prayers, words of sympathy & patience over the last few weeks, while we come to terms with the loss of Azaylia.
‘We have been incredibly moved by the support we have received far and wide and all the beautiful gesture of kindness will live in hearts forever.
‘We have been in correspondence with Warwickshire Police, to understand how we can give people who would like to pay their respects, the chance to do so.
Tribute nails: Ahead of the funeral, Safiyya shared a photo of her nails which were patterned with angel wings, the Lion King cubs and Azaylia
‘Due to current restrictions the family will be attending a private service of celebration of Azaylia’s life, but prior to the Azaylia’s service we will be giving Azaylia her last journey through Nuneaton town.
‘We would be touched and honoured to see as many of those that wish, pay their respects to Azaylia by lining the streets somewhere along the route the cortége will proceed through.
‘We respectfully ask all attending Azaylia’s final journey to adhere to the current Covid legislation, to maintain social distancing and to keep within your family bubbles, this will ensure everyone is safe and following the rules that are set out.
‘As truly difficult as the day will be, we are going to give it our all to keep Azaylia’s day an uplifting day of remembrance for her life and encourage anyone attending to show their love by clapping and making joyous noise of celebration as the cortege goes by!
‘We would love to make her final journey a special one as she watches from heaven. LETS GO CHAMP!’
The former footballer said making decisions about Azaylia’s funeral was enough to ‘bring me to my knees’.
In a message shared on his stories, he penned: ‘I always dreaded the first I’d have to plan a funeral. But I never ever thought it would be my child’s funeral.
Harrowing: Ashley and Safiyya announced the heartbreaking death of their little girl on April 25 after a brave cancer battle
‘You are my angel, my heartbeat, my soul’: Azaylia’s parents announced their daughter’s death on Instagram as they shared heartbreaking tributes to their little girl
‘Nothing could ever have prepared me for this. Some days it breaks me and I can’t even bare to do it. I always thought I was tough, but making decisions on how I’m going to bury my baby is enough to bring me to my knees every single time.’
He concluded: ‘It’s hard to make sense of anything right now, especially why did it have to happen this way!’
Ashley and Safiyya raised £1.6 million for Azaylia’s cancer treatment, which was the used for her funeral costs and to set up a children’s charity. Azaylia was also honoured with a Pride Of Britain award following her brave battle with leukaemia.
The couple had originally set up a GoFund Me page to raise momey for CAR-T therapy treatment in Singapore after they were left with ‘very little options’.
A timeline of Azaylia’s six-month leukaemia battle
October 2020: Ashley emotionally revealed his daughter had been diagnosed with a ‘rare and aggressive’ form of leukaemia, which he described as an ‘uphill battle’.
Heartbreaking: Ashley emotionally revealed his daughter had been diagnosed with a ‘rare and aggressive’ form of leukaemia in October
Azaylia was turned away by doctors three times and prescribed laxatives and a nasal spray when her breathing was impeded, shortly before her diagnosis.
By the end of the month, the brave child faced her second surgery and 16th chemotherapy-related treatment in less than two weeks.
November 2020: Azaylia’s hair started to fall out just weeks after she was diagnosed.
Doctors informed Ashley and his family that the tot needed a bone marrow transplant and blood donation.
Due to her Caribbean, Burmese, Indian and English background, the footballer said it was very difficult to find a match for a transplant.
Azaylia was brought home for a few days before her second round of chemotherapy.
December 2020: 80,000 people became stem cell donors 48 hours after Ashley appealed for the public’s help.
So sad: Azaylia’s hair started to fall out just weeks after she was diagnosed in November
January 2021: The TV star confirmed a stem cell donor had been found for his baby daughter Azaylia.
She received her stem cell transplant but her cancer sadly returned following a third round of chemotherapy.
February 2021: Azaylia responded well to her stem cell treatment and doctors were impressed with ‘how strong she was’.
She underwent further surgery to discover whether her leukaemia had gone. Later in the month, doctors revealed her cancer had returned.
March 2021: They were told there were ‘very few options’ to help the baby’s condition before she had another bone marrow test. She relapsed by the end of the month and underwent her fourth round of chemotherapy.
Ashley surpassed his target goal of £1million after he set up a GoFundMe to pay for life-saving treatment for his daughter Azaylia.
Heartbreaking: Healthcare professionals revealed Azaylia only had a few days to live as they discovered tumours all over her body
The former Ex On The Beach star took to social media to ask fans for help in donating, explaining the treatment his daughter needed is available in Singapore.
Ashley described the treatment, CAR-T therapy, as ‘the only option to save Azaylia’s life’ and said he and partner Safiyya may have to fly out in a matter of weeks, adding it will take a minimum of one year.
Celebrities such as former TOWIE star Kate Ferdinand, Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague and PrettyLittleThing founder Umar Kamani all donated.
Despite efforts from around the world, pharmaceutical companies could not release the life-saving drugs needed to beat his daughter Azaylia’s battle.
April 2020: Healthcare professionals revealed Azaylia only had a few days to live as they discovered tumours in her stomach, her spleen, her liver and her kidneys, in addition to tumours in her brain.
Her parents bathed her in the hospital for a final time before they returned home.
They marked her turning eight months old by having moulds made of her feet, and Azaylia was met with support from the London Underground and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
She received life-prolonging transfusion after her condition caused profuse bleeding and public figures joined the nationwide clap held in her honour.
Azaylia was nominated for a Pride of Britain award and had a plane draw a heart in the sky for her.
The tot was put on oxygen to aid her sleep, and struggled to open her eyes due to swelling.
Scam artists set up fake Facebook pages in her name, with Ashley admitting: ‘We feel really sad it has come to this’.
Azaylia returned to hospital for another platelet transfusion a few days before she died.
The influencer’s ‘fragile’ daughter stopped breathing and suffered seizures before Ashley confirmed her death.
Celebrities such as former TOWIE star Kate Ferdinand, Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague and PrettyLittleThing founder Umar Kamani all donated.
Despite efforts from around the world, pharmaceutical companies could not release the life-saving drugs needed to beat his daughter Azaylia’s battle, as her cancer was so rare and aggressive.
Of her legacy, Ashley said: ‘The world lit up. The world talked about childhood cancer. The world showed its heart. And YOU helped to make all of that happen.’
He emotionally went on: ‘The amount of money needed for Azaylia’s potential treatment in Singapore was raised in just 24 hours. That money can sadly no longer be used to help Azaylia but we want to make sure it is used positively – and in Azaylia’s name.
‘After days of emotional yet careful consideration we have decided that, firstly, we would like to use some to give Azaylia a magical and deserving send off – something that we believe you would all want to be a part of.
‘Secondly, we will use the remaining money to help other children through a new charity we are setting up in Azaylia’s name.
‘She has guided us throughout this process and it only feels right that we continue to use the platform we built together to help those in similar situations.’
For help and support caring for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, please contact Together for Short Lives on 0808 8088 100 or visit www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk
What are the symptoms of leukaemia in children?
Fatigue and pale skin – this is because leukaemia can cause anaemia which makes a child feel weak, tired and light-headed.
Infections and fever – children with leukaemia lack normal white blood cells which would normally help fight infection.
Rash – children may have small, dark spots that look like common rashes if the leukemia cells spread to the skin
Easy bruising or bleeding – this includes frequent nosebleeds, bleeding gums and bleeding a lot from small cuts.
Bone or joint pain – this is caused by a build up of leukaemia cells near the surface of the bone or inside the joint.
Swelling of the abdomen – leukaemia cells may collect in the liver and spleen causing them to enlarge.
Loss of appetite and weight loss – if the spleen and liver swell, they can press against the stomach causing loss of appetite.
Swollen lymph nodes – some leukaemias spread to the lymph nodes causing them to swell.
Source: American Cancer Society