Carrie DeKlyen, a 37-year-old mother of five, turned down chemotherapy on September 6 in order to give birth to her sixth child, Life Lynn DeKlyen. Carrie passed away six days after Life was born. Two weeks after she was delivered, Life passed away due to complications.
Carrie had an aggressive form of brain cancer called recurrent glioblastoma. Even with treatment, the cancer may come back due to the tumor cells spreading across the brain. The form often comes with a 12-18 month life expectancy for those given the diagnosis. When Carrie had her first tumor removed in April 2017, she and Nick received news a month later that not only had the tumor returned but also that Carrie was pregnant.
In order to treat the tumor, Carrie was given the option to undergo chemotherapy at the expense of terminating her pregnancy. She refused. Nick told The Washington Post that in early September 2017, Carrie had suffered a stroke. “They said the fluid built up so much, the cranium had no place to go,” he said in an interview. Two weeks later, Carrie suffered another stroke at 22 weeks pregnant. Nick told The Washington Post that the cranium was so swollen at that point that doctors removed a piece of her skull.
When she was at a safe weight for delivery, Nick authorized that Life be delivered via cesarean. At 24 weeks, the baby came out and Carrie passed away six days later.
Life was placed in intensive care after her birth, where she developed a leak in one of her lungs, causing her health to slowly worsen. She passed away on September 20 and was buried alongside Carrie.
A GoFundMe page was created in April by Sonya DeKlyen Nelson and asked for any donations for Nick and the family, as he had stepped away from work to help Carrie after her first diagnosis. The page has earned over $100,000 to date.
Hospital officials at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor said, “Our deepest sympathies go to the DeKlyen family during this time of sorrow. Our team is saddened by the losses of Carrie and Life, and we hope their friends and family can find comfort and peace from their memories.”
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