Survivors and their Babies
The unique bond between mom and baby is unbreakable. For these survivors, the link is extra special.
Fort Wayne, Indiana (October 18, 2010) — When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was pregnant. Even though it was only five years ago, at that time there were few support groups for ladies like me; no Facebook, no Twitter, very few blogs. In my role as the Development Ambassador for the Vera Bradley Foundation, amazingly, I now meet women at least once a month who have been in my shoes. According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer occurs about once in every 3,000 pregnancies. Fortunately, as the research advances on targeted and individualized treatments, more and more of them experience the same happy outcome as I have: sweet, blessed motherhood and healthy kids.
Yes, it is a terrifying journey — but a journey that can be faced with ferocious optimism and hope. I want to introduce you to a few mamas who have made it through to the other side. They fought for not only themselves, but for the tiny lives that were growing inside during their battle. Is it me, or are chemo babies devastatingly adorable? Maybe that’s a side effect the doctors forget to mention.
What miracles these babies are; and their mommies, too!
Jamie and Blake
Jamie was diagnosed in her mid-twenties while pregnant. Her baby boy was born two-and-a-half years ago — strong, healthy and handsome, just like his incredibly supportive daddy, Rigo. Jamie calls her son, Blake, her “chemo champ.” A lawyer living in California, Jamie spends a great deal of time working for breast cancer awareness. The coolest thing she ever told me was “I am certain of one thing; life is good!” Wouldn’t it be great if people who weren’t facing such a trial were half as optimistic?
Angela and Noah
Angela connected with me just after she’d finished treatment while pregnant with her son, Noah. She and her husband already had two perfect children, Jayla and Nicholas. Angela and Noah made it through the tough journey with the help of the amazing team at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center. Angela now is fighting the cancer that has metastasized to her brain, but her faith and attitude are as strong as ever. She says, “The Lord is my strength and continues to sustain me without a doubt! So my trust is solely in Him.” Quite the force of nature, our friend Angela.
Stephanie and Samantha
Stephanie and her husband were in the lengthy process of adopting a sweet little girl from China when they learned with delight that they were expecting! Shortly thereafter, however, their joy turned to fear when Stephanie was diagnosed with breast cancer. After consulting with four different oncologists, she finally found one that would treat her without terminating her pregnancy. She and her husband now have two beautiful daughters and she is strong and healthy. She is proud to be a member of our exclusive “club."
Heidi and Noah
I, too, am a part of this unique sisterhood. I was diagnosed soon after I learned I was pregnant. This August marks a very special milestone; I will be five years out from my treatment! My Noah is the most handsome boy in the entire town and clearly has a bright future (my own unbiased opinion). I will never forget the doctors, friends and family that helped me on that journey. I will also never forget the ladies I meet along the way who have shared the same experience.