Lifestyle & Human Interest

Hero 19-Year-Old Mother Battling Cancer Dies Just Months After Newborn Son


A teenage mother from Australia and her baby died after the woman decided to delay cancer treatments in order to save her son’s life.

When she was just 18 years old, Brianna Rawlings, from Sydney, Australia, found out that she had a rare, aggressive form of leukemia.

She was 17 weeks pregnant at the time of the diagnosis, leaving her with only two options: abort the pregnancy or postpone treatment until after her baby was born.

Postponing treatment meant that her chance of survival was cut in half. It also meant she would endure the painful disease with minimal treatment — but to Rawlings, only one choice made sense.

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“She was given two very raw and heartbreaking decisions,” her sister Kourt Rawlings wrote on a GoFundMe page. “Without hesitation, (Rawlings) chose to halve her own chances of survival in order to give her son a fighting chance.”

Baby Kyden was delivered at 26 weeks, earlier than planned. Rawlings had contracted an infection that doctors said could potentially pass to the baby, making a premature delivery the safest option for everyone.

Kyden held on to life for 12 days before dying of a stomach infection.

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“Those 12 days I was able to spend with my baby boy Kyden, holding him, counting his toes and fingers and talking to him like I would when he was in my tummy — they were just so special, they were the best 12 days of my life,” Rawlings told the Daily Mail in October 2018.

While grieving the heartbreaking loss, Rawlings began intense, aggressive chemotherapy treatments.

Her younger brother was a perfect donor match, giving the family hope for a successful bone marrow transplant.

But Rawlings’ health deteriorated so quickly that the bone marrow transplant never happened.

On Dec. 29, Rawlings passed away “surrounded by many broken hearts.”

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“We are absolutely broken,” Kourt Rawlings wrote, “but at the same time at peace knowing she is no longer in pain, no longer in pieces and unsure of what news was to come next.”

Rawlings turned 19 years old just days before she died.

“Hold on to your loved ones and never stop expressing your love for them,” Kourt Rawlings said.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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