18-year-old Brianna Rawlings, from Sydney, Australia, found out within weeks of each other she was pregnant and had a rare, aggressive form of leukemia. Just 17 weeks into her pregnancy Brianna faced a life and death decision for herself and her unborn child.
She could terminate the pregnancy and begin chemotherapy immediately or receive no treatment (while her baby grew as healthy as possible) and start treatments after the birth. The last option cut her chances of survival in half, but that is what Brianna chose to do.
In addition to lessening her chances, the delay in treatment meant the ravishing effects of the painful disease ran amok in her body.
“She was given two very raw and heartbreaking decisions. Without hesitation, (she) chose to halve her own chances of survival in order to give her son a fighting chance,” wrote her sister Kourt Rawlings on a GoFundMe page.
Brianna’s son Kyden was born at 26 weeks – much earlier than planned because she’d contracted an infection that put his life at risk. Once born, the small premie lived a beautiful twelve days before he died of a stomach infection.
“Those twelve days I was able to spend with my baby boy Kyden, holding him, counting his toes and fingers and talking to him like I would when he was in my tummy – they were just so special, they were the best 12 days of my life,” Brianna told the Daily Mail in October 2018.
After her son’s death, a real life and death battle was playing out in her own body, and Brianna began aggressive chemotherapy. Her younger brother was a match for a bone marrow transplant, but they never got to try that particular treatment. Brianna died on December 29th, before her body was well enough.
Rawlings became a mother and turned 19 before she died. Her family was devastated but at peace.
“Hold onto your loved ones and never stop expressing your love for them,” Kourt Rawlings said.
We admire Brianna’s tenacity and her choice to love her son as only she could. We pray for the Rawlings family, who lost a daughter and a grandson, a sister and a nephew. May God lift your heads and hearts and may His comfort be yours’.