A long & sad but beautiful read! The story of a mother’s selfless love. We all need to hear stories like this. Every mother is capable of this kind of selfless love; they just don’t all know it yet.
The brave mother who gave up her life to save her baby
by BECKY MORRIS, Daily Mail
WHEN Cheryl Anderson was diagnosed with cancer at 32, her one concern was for the unborn child she was carrying. She even refused to take any painkillers except paracetamol, in case they harmed the baby. Her daughter Taylor was born two months ago – tragically, Cheryl died the same day. Here, her husband Leigh, 36, talks to BECKY MORRIS about his courageous wife. . .
TAYLOR ANDERSON was born on August 23 and, in years to come, her birthday, like any much-loved little girl’s, will be marked with cakes, streamers and a pile of presents.
But it will also be a day of sorrow for Taylor and her family. For her birthday is also the day that her mother, Cheryl, died, just hours after she’d used up the last vestiges of her strength in bringing her tiny daughter into the world.
Cheryl, who was only 32, was diagnosed with cancer in May when she was two months pregnant. Her response was utterly selfless, inspired by the strength of the maternal bond. She refused an abortion and even went without pain relief in case it damaged the baby.
Cheryl lived with crippling pain in a desperate race against time, hoping she would stay alive long enough for her baby to be born safely.
At six months, doctors felt time had run out, and performed an emergency Caesarean. Cheryl came round from the anaesthetic for long enough to hear the news that her daughter had survived the traumatic delivery. Hours later, Cheryl slipped away in her husband’s arms.
Today, her husband Leigh, 36, the manager of a construction company, sits in his immaculate house in Newport, South Wales, surrounded by photographs of his wife and their elder daughter, Georgia, four.
‘Cheryl and I had been together for 13 years and I never quite realised how much she did to make Georgia and I happy until she was gone,’ he says.
‘I never felt particularly spiritual before, but now I feel her presence strongly in the house, reassuring me and helping me keep cheerful for the children’s sake.
‘The worst time is at night when I feel so overwhelmed, as though I can’t face another day.’ His voice trails away.
He and Cheryl were, he says, ‘just an ordinary family with very ordinary hopes and fears’.
HE ADDS: ‘We were very much in love, even after all those years together, and were so excited about the prospect of having a second child to complete our family. And then this happened – and suddenly life was terrifying.’
It was one day in May this year that Cheryl asked her GP to check out a small lump on the side of her neck. Both she and Leigh were so confident that it was harmless, that they took Georgia along to the local hospital to pick up the biopsy results.
‘We realized it might be bad news when we noticed several nurses milling around and sensed a strange atmosphere. And when two of them very directly led Georgia away to find a balloon, Cheryl and I looked at each other and at once registered alarm.
‘The specialist came straight to the point. He sat us down and said: “There’s no easy way to say this. I’m afraid we found cancer in the biopsy.î
Leigh pauses to compose himself. ‘We both sat there, utterly stunned. Cheryl was barely out of her 20s – it was the last thing we expected to hear. Yet her reaction was absolutely typical of the way she lived her life. She didn’t think of herself for a second. Her first words were: “But what will happen to my children?î
Cheryl couldn’t have chemotherapy because it would harm her baby – and neither would she consider an abortion, not for religious reasons but because she wanted another child so much. She had such a powerful sense of duty towards the baby that was growing inside her.
Instead, she underwent a major operation that month in which the rapidly growing tumor was removed from her neck.
She then refused all pain relief – she was convinced there would have been a risk, even though doctors told her it was probably safe – apart from four paracetamols a day and then battled through 30 exhausting doses of radiotherapy to prolong her life so that she could give Taylor the best possible chance of survival.
Whereas chemotherapy is given intravenously and would be toxic to a developing baby, radiotherapy, an external treatment, allowed for the baby to be shielded from harmful rays.
In the following months, Cheryl was strong enough to care for Georgia and live a fairly normal life. And with every passing week, the hope that her baby would survive grew stronger.
By August, though, Cheryl was growing weaker and was succumbing to the cancer which was spreading through her body.
‘The last two weeks of her life were very, very hard,’ says Leigh. ‘She was at home but getting more tired and weak by the day.
BUT she’d smile when I asked how she was and say she was “not too badî. One day she admitted her back was painful. I know now that, with cancer in her spine, she must have been in absolute agony.
‘She knew that every day she could keep Taylor in her womb, the safer she would be,’ said Leigh. ‘And so she fought with all her might to keep going.’
Tuesday, 5/5/15 – only 63% filled on this Abortion Day (it was 88% filled then five hours were cancelled just 30 min. ago) – 2 needed at 11a; 1 needed at 12p; 1 needed at 1p and 2 needed at 3p.
Wednesday, 5/6/15 – only 45% filled on this Abortion Day – 1 needed at 9a; 1 needed at 10a; 1 needed at 11a; 2 needed at 12p; 2 needed at 1p; 2 needed at 2p and 2 needed at 3p.
Thursday, 5/7/15 – just 61% filled on this busy day at Planned Parenthood – 2 needed at 9a; 2 needed at 10a; 1 needed at 11a; 1 needed at 12p and 1 needed at 5p.
Friday, 5/8/15 – just 50% filled – 1 needed at 1p and 1 needed at 2p.
National Day of Prayer – Thursday, May 7
8-5 p.m. – Prayer Room – 411-South
12-1 p.m. – Gathering at King Street-East Lawn Entrance (inclement weather-Room 411
WI National Day of Prayer State Coordinator
P.O. Box 1086, Cumberland, WI 54829
Gratitude for Mothers
Today I turn to you to give you thanks for mothers. With your own gift of life, they bear children in their wombs and give them life. They tenderly, patiently care for their children and teach them to walk and to talk. They read to their children and make them laugh. No one delights in their children’s successes more; no one comforts their children better in their failures. We are so grateful for how our mothers mother us and mentor us, and even discipline us.
Please bless all mothers, Lord, and comfort them. Help their loving hearts to continue to love and give selflessly to others. Strengthen them when they are down and give them hope when they are discouraged.
Most of all, Lord, please give mothers the graces they most need. We ask you this, in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, forever and ever. Amen.