Jennifer Lake was just like any other teenager. She enjoyed hanging out with friends and had dreams just like any other people of her age. But in 2010, Jennifer’s life was about to take a tragic turn.
When Jenni was a 16-year-old sophomore at Pocatello High School, Idaho,
she felt that something was not right. She began to experience severe headaches and went to see her family doctor.
An MRI scan found a tumor, about two centimeters wide, on the right side of Jenni’s brain. The doctors’ statements are brutal – Jenni was diagnosed with with stage three astrocytoma, a type of brain tumor.
After hearing about her diagnosis, everyone around Jenni was in shock.
Unfortunately, more bad news would come. Another scan, at the hospital, showed that the tumor in her brain was bigger than previously thought. And the cancer had spread from her brain to another part of her body – with no symptoms.
Her parents, who are divorced, said that the family were remember brought into a room at the hospital, to sit down with the doctors. They discussed her chances of survival.
”Jenni just flat out asked them if she was going to die,” said her father, Mike Lake, a truck driver from Rexburg, north of Pocatello.
If Jennifer was to survive, she had to undergo chemotherapy. But even if with treatment, Jenni was told she had 30% chance to make it two more years. If she would make it, the doctors told her that she probably couldn’t have children – the radiation and chemotherapy would make her sterile.
‘We were told that she couldn’t get pregnant, so we didn’t worry about it,’ her boyfriend Nathan, 19, said.
But Jennifer and Nathan would soon be surprised – this time what would normally be something absolutely wonderful to hear. But for Jennifer and her boyfriend Nathan, things were not quite the same. The couple learn that were pregnant.
As anyone would be, Jennifer was overjoyed at the news. She had always wanted to be a mom. But it also meant that she was faced with the toughest decision in her life.
Her unborn child would die if she continued through her chemotherapy. But if she stopped her treatment, it was no chance for Jenni to survive. So she would either have to terminate the pregnancy and continue the treatments, or stop the treatments, knowing that it could continue to grow again.
Jennifer listened to her heart. She decided to stop her chemotherapy treatments and give birth to little Chad Michael, nine months later.
After delivering her baby, Jennifer grabbed her midwife’s hand and whispered: “I’m done, I did what I was supposed to. My baby is going to get here safe”,’ Diana Phillips, Jenni’s mom, told Daily Mail.
Six days after giving birth Jennifer drove home from the hospital. The only thing she wanted to do was to spend time with her son, in her own home.
When Jennifer died on November 21, 2011, 12 days after giving birth, she had little Chad in his arms. She never showed any regret after her decision.
The love that Jennifer, and all other mothers feel for their children is indescribable. In her case it was so strong that she chose to sacrifice her own life.
Chad will grow up knowing that his mom is always with him. Jennifer Lake will always be by her son’s side. Jenni’s family want him to know everything about his mom, and what she did.
Since 2011, Jennifer Lake’s story has touched hundreds of thousands of people who have followed her destiny and fight through blogs and social media. Her family and friends has always wanted Jenni’s legacy not to centered in tragedy, but rather in sacrifice.
Chad, who is now 8 years old, is being raised by his father, Nathan, with the help of his mother, as well as Jenni’s.
On the Jenni’s Journey Facebook page, you too can read more about her story as well as pay tribute to her and wish her family well.
What a beautiful example of a mother that did all she can to protect her child. What a beautiful young lady in her heart and in her life! Although this happened several years ago, I never heard such a heartbreaking story. Jenni will always be remembered as a fighter and a lover, a combination that few master to the full extent of good will and honor. Please share this story to keep her legacy alive.