This courageous mother is a living miracle. Being diagnosed with Stage-4 cancer during her pregnancy in 2007, with faith and will to live on, she has survived and given birth to three adorable children!
Ashley Hallford was pregnant for one month when she felt a bump on her neck. It was first diagnosed as an infection which would disappear with antibiotics.
However, the “infection” didn’t disappear but grew bigger, and later became hard and painful. So Hallford went for a biopsy at 32 weeks into her pregnancy. It was determined to be a rare form of Stage-4 cancer.
Four days later, she was induced into labor at 33 weeks and gave birth to a baby named Harley, who was healthy and sent home two days after his birth.
Soon after the labor, doctors removed a softball-sized tumor which had spread to her jaw. They removed a section of her jaw muscle and cut off a facial nerve.
Five weeks later, doctors told Hallford they still could not know what cancer she had.
“We could not determine the origin of her tumor,” said Dr. Debra Miller of Southeastern Medical Oncology Center, Jacksonville, North Carolina told TODAY. “We consulted with other doctors all over the country, but couldn’t figure out what it was.”
After MRI checks, doctors found she had a brain tumor and cancer had spread to her lungs and liver. Because the brain tumor had grown on her optic nerve, she lost vision in her right eye and could not open her right lid.
“At that point, they decided to stop trying to figure out what it was, and just start treating it,” Hallford told TODAY. She began high doses of chemotherapy and radiation treatment in January 2008.
However, cancer continued to spread. Hallford now had innumerable tumors.
“That’s when they asked me to start taking pictures, videos and writing a journal for my son,” Hallford said. But it was a difficult task for her at that time. “My handwriting was terrible and I could barely see.”
It was so tough that Hallford recalled: “I can remember begging god to let me die.” But even so, she didn’t lose hope or give up fighting.
Before long, something miraculous happened. In July 2008, she took a scan that she thought would be her last one in her short life. But the result shocked everyone.
Her oncologist told her the cancer was in remission. “I was crying. I had hoped it would be positive news, but it was nothing short of miraculous,” said Hallford.
The couple wanted another child but Hallford was unable to conceive because the radiation treatments made her in full-blown menopause. Nevertheless, she was pregnant again two years later.
“I was excited and at the same time really scared,” Hallford said. Because cancer occurred during her last pregnancy, her doctors suspected it could have been hormonal.
Fortunately, cancer did not reoccur throughout her pregnancy. She gave birth to a girl named Grace, in October 2012. And in 2016, she was pregnant again and delivered a boy, Eli.
It was unbelievable to Hallford and probably everyone. Having gone through all these ups and downs in the past nine years, Hallford advised people to always remain positive.
“Doctors gave me a few weeks to live,” she said. “Don’t give up. I didn’t lose hope. Don’t ever quit fighting.”