A mother's love is invaluable. She often cherishes her child more than she does herself and would gladly give up her life for them. Jennifer Frank will fortify your faith if you have ever doubted a mother's love.
Jennifer Lake received a devastating diagnosis when she was just sixteen years old. The severe headaches weren't like anything she had earlier experienced, so she got an MRI. That MRI showed a tumor in her brain.
Jennifer was diagnosed with stage three astrocytoma. The brain tumor was larger than initially thought. It had also spread to her spine, although there were no external symptoms. There were three tumors in her brain and three on her spine.
The diagnosis was a showstopper for a young girl who thought she had her whole life ahead of her.
She and her parents met with doctors to discuss any chance of survival. Her father, Mike Lake, said: "Jenni flat out asked them if she would die." Her doctors responded that any chances of cure were tied to chemotherapy, and even then, she would have only a 30% chance of living for two more years.
That wasn't the worst of it. They also mentioned that the radiation would most likely sterilize her if she survived. That was the worst news for Jennifer. She had always wanted to be a mother.
But she opted for the treatments - at first. To document her journey, she created a YouTube channel called Jenni's Journey but could only post three videos because the treatments left her feeling weak.
One of the three videos was posted on November 10, 2010. It showed Jennifer having lunch with her mother. In the video, she said: "Last night, I was just lying in bed, and I was thinking about everything that was going on and it just like, it just hit me, like everything, and I don't know, it made me cry."
She was in a relationship with 19-year-old Nathan Wittman, and they had only been dating for a few weeks when she received the diagnosis. Admirably, they stuck together through this difficult time. Wittman said: "We were told that she couldn't get pregnant, so we didn't worry about it."
So it came as a surprise when they found out that Jennifer was pregnant. She was so excited but was soon informed that she would have to choose between herself and her child.
If she chose to have the baby, she would have to stop her treatments, which would cost her life. But, if she decided to continue her treatment, the radiation would kill her baby.
It was a tough choice, especially as the tumors had started to shrink several months earlier. But, her family hoped she could have the baby and continue with her treatments afterward.
Jennifer chose her baby over herself. She stopped all treatments and delivered a beautiful baby boy named Chad Michael.
The day she was admitted to the hospital for the delivery, she whispered to her nurse: "I'm done. I did what I was supposed to. My baby is going to get here safe."
The next day, there was devastating news for her parents. The tumors had spread too far for anything to be done. Stopping her chemo treatments proved to be fatal for Jennifer. The exact words Jennifer uttered the day she came for the delivery of her baby were relayed to her parents to comfort them.
Six days after delivering Chad Michael, Jennifer returned home. She died 12 days after the birth of her child while holding him in her arms. That was on November 21, 2011. Jennifer never regretted her decision.
To be able to make such a decision at 16, and stick to it, is admirable. It shows just how indescribable a mother's love for a child is. It truly was the ultimate sacrifice.
Chad will be 11 years old this year, and he doesn't live as though carrying the burden of his mother's sacrifice but carries her love and devotion. His father, Nathan, and grandparents have helped him appreciate what his mother did for him; They share her story with thousands of people as one of sacrifice, not a tragedy.
Chad is being raised by his maternal and paternal grandmothers.