Cancer-Stricken Teen Mother Dies to Give Her Baby Life
Jenni Lake, 17, of Pocatello, Idaho, was diagnosed with cancer in October 2010 after she began having severe migraines. Doctors in Salt Lake City discovered the cause after an MRI: a stage three astrocytoma, a tumor on the side of her brain. They gave her a 30 percent chance of surviving another two years.
Her mother, Diana Phillips, said Jenni, who is the third of eight children, seemed more upset by the possibility that radiation would leave her sterile. “When they told her that she might not be able to have kids, she got upset,” Phillips said.
By March, her tumors began to shrink. But in May, Jenni learned she was pregnant.
Phillips said the family’s oncologist told them “she would either have to terminate the pregnancy and continue the treatments, or stop the treatments, knowing that it could continue to grow again.”
Phillips said her daughter never considered having an abortion. She worried the 10-week-old child had undergone two rounds of chemotherapy.
On November 9, just one month before her 18th birthday, Jenni gave birth to a healthy boy, named Chad Michael after his grandfathers. After the delivery, she told the nurse, “I’m done. I did what I was supposed to. My baby is going to get here safe.” Family hoped she could resume the chemotherapy.
However, doctors discovered the tumors had gotten larger and spread to her spinal column. Nothing could be done. Less than two weeks later, she succumbed to cancer.
Jenni’s last wish was that her baby lay beside her. Although she had lost her sight to the tumors, her last words were, “I can kind of see him.”
Phillips now sports a tattoo of the words “Jenni” and “John 15:13.” That verse from the fourth Gospel states, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ...