Тhe ultimate sacrifice: 17-year-old mom dies after giving birth to a baby she saved by refusing chemo

Jennifer Lake was an average 16-year-old high school student in Idaho when she received a devastating diagnosis. Previously, the severe headaches had come from nowhere, but Jennifer had a feeling there was something wrong. Then an MRI showed a tumor on her brain. But the surprises weren’t over. She became pregnant and made the choice to save her child over herself. When the young mom tragically died after giving birth, her story shattered hearts all over the world.

A Tragic Diagnosis

Lake thought she had her whole life ahead of her. But then she got diagnosed with stage three astrocytoma, a type of brain tumor. And that wasn’t the worst of it. Another scan showed that the tumor was larger than originally realized and had spread to her spine without any external symptoms. At that point, she had three tumors on her brain and three on her spine. Her parents, who are divorced, joined a meeting with the doctors to discuss her case — and her chances of surviving.


Jennifer created a Youtube channel called Jenni’s Journey. She intended to document her progress but ended up posting only three videos. The treatments left her feeling weak. One of the videos posted, was taken as Jennifer has lunch with her mother.

Choosing Her Baby

Her boyfriend Nathan Wittman was 19 at the time. They had only been dating a couple of weeks before the diagnosis but their young relationship withstood a very adult and intense test. “We were told that she couldn’t get pregnant, so we didn’t worry about it,” he said. [2]

However, they were surprised to learn that Jennifer became pregnant. She was overjoyed, but it was short-lived. She had to make the impossible choice. Her life, or her unborn baby’s. If she continued chemotherapy, the radiation would kill the child.


All in all, Jennifer chose her baby. She stopped her treatments, and nine months later, the new mom was giving birth to little Chad Michael.

When Lake was admitted into the hospital for the birth, she motioned to her nurse to come closer and whispered to her, “I’m done, I did what I was supposed to. My baby is going to get here safe.” A day later, the nurse repeated these words to her family when they received the worst of news. Lake’s choice to skip on her chemo treatments turned fatal. The tumors had spread too far for anything to be done. Despite everything, Jennifer never showed regret for her choice. [3]

The Young Mom Dies After Giving Birth

Six days after the delivery, Jennifer went home to spent time with her new son. The mom died 12 days after giving birth while holding baby Chad in her arms. Her story continues to inspire to this day. Jennifer’s choice is an incredible example of the powerful love a mother has for her children. It’s usually so indescribable, but Jennifer’s love for Chad could be felt by anyone who hears about her sacrifice.


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