No Greater Love: Mother foregoes cancer treatment to give life to her daughter

Photo credit: Joice family

Photo credit: Joice family

When Elizabeth Joice became pregnant last year, it was something of a miracle. Joice had battled lung cancer – undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy, surgery and more chemotherapy, to ensure the tumors were gone – and doctors told her she had no hopes of ever becoming pregnant.

Elizabeth, 36, was cancer-free for three years after her treatment, but she and her husband, Max, desperately wanted to become parents. In June of 2013 they discovered that they were expecting. Max said,

“I totally blew a gasket. They said there was no chance this was happening — and here it was happening.”

However, a month later the couple was devastated to learn that the cancer had returned. Doctors removed the tumor, but because she was pregnant her oncologist could not perform an MRI to see if the cancer was spreading. Her doctors told her she had two choices: abort the baby and begin cancer treatment or delay the cancer treatment until after the birth of her baby, which would risk her life.

Max said,

“Having a kid was one of the most important things in the world to her … She knew this might be her only chance.”

Elizabeth continued the pregnancy and baby Lily was delivered in January, two months early via C-section, as doctors felt they could wait no longer. Unfortunately, Elizabeth’s cancer had spread to her right lung, heart and abdomen, and her health quickly declined. Elizabeth died March 9, with Max by her side.

An upcoming documentary by Christopher Hentze, entitled 40 Weeks, will tell the story of Elizabeth’s selfless decision. For more, see the full article in the New York Post.


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