In 2010, a 16-year-old Idaho high school student received devastating news from her doctors. The girl was suffering from severe headaches that just came out of nowhere, but Jennifer knew in her heart something was very wrong with her. Once she underwent an MRI, the machine revealed a brain tumor. And then, later on, she would become pregnant, and the teen would make the bravest decision of her short life.
Jennifer decided that her child’s health was more important than her own and made the ultimate sacrifice to give her child a fighting chance of being born healthy. The young woman’s story would soon touch millions of hearts worldwide.
Like many teens, Jennifer once believed she had all the time in the world and was more or less invincible. However, she soon learned that she had stage three astrocytoma, and worst of all, her tomorrow grew more prominent, spreading to her spine even with the absence of any symptoms. At this point, Jennifer had a total of three different tumors on her brain along with three on her spinal cord. Her parents, who had been divorced, put their differences aside to meet with their daughter’s doctors to discuss her options and Jennifer’s chances of survival.
Jennifer was told that her best chance was to undergo chemotherapy. However, that would only give her a 20 percent chance of living only an additional two years at best. And the horrible news did not end there. Even if she survived her chemo treatments, the radiation would kill her baby was incredibly likely. The devastated teen had always wanted to become a mother and knew this was likely her last chance.
To cope, Jennifer launched a YouTube channel titled Jenni’s Journey, documenting her progress. However, she never completed the project after only posting three videos. It turned out her treatments left the mom feeling very weak. On November 20, 2010, one of her videos shows Jennifer having lunch with her mom.
Here’s the video.
19-year-old Nathan Wittman was Jennifer’s boyfriend. They had only dated a few weeks before she received her cancer diagnosis, but their young love withstood a harrowing test.
However, they were both surprised when Jennifer became pregnant. The teen was ecstatic, but her jubilation was short-lived after learning she had to make a heartbreaking choice — her life or her baby’s.
If Jennifer continued her chemotherapy treatments, the radiation would kill her baby. On the other hand, she would likely die much sooner from her cancer without treatment.
Miraculously, Jennifer’s tumors started shrinking months after her diagnosis, so her family had a glimmer of hope she would survive long enough to have her child and then return to her chemo treatments.
Nine months later, Jennifer gave birth to her son, Chad Michael.
Jennifer returned home six days after giving birth to spend quality time with her infant son. However, the young mother would pass away 12 days after giving birth while holding her son in her arms. Jennifer passed away on November 21, 2011. And even to this day, her story serves as an inspiration to millions. Jennifer’s choice is proof of the power of a mother’s love for her children. While it’s often indescribable, her ultimate sacrifice crystallized this concept as clear as anything can.
Despite never getting to know his mom, Chad still carries Jennifer’s love and devotion with him. Her family and Nathan constantly tell him stories about his mom and the brave decision to bring him into this world. They’ve also shared Jenifer’s story with millions of people through social media. And they say that Jennifer’s story is not one of tragedy but one of love through heroic sacrifice. Today, Chad just turned ten and currently lives with his father, Nathan, who raises him with the help of Jennifer’s mom and his mother.
You can learn more about Jennifer’s story below.
Thank you for reading. Please be so kind as to pass this story on to your family and friends?