Early morning feedings. Late hours straightening up a toddler-tossed house. Helping with math problems you haven’t practiced for decades. Parents do a lot for their children.
In fact, I’d say that’s part of what makes childhood work. No kid would enjoy his or her young years if mom and dad didn’t step up when the situation required it.
Some parents, though, make bigger sacrifices than others. Just look at British mother Gemma Nuttall.
According to Fox News, Nuttall was a dental nurse from Rossendale, Lancashire. Then in 2014, she discovered that she had ovarian cancer.
That’s a horrible enough diagnosis in and of itself. What made it even worse was that Nuttall was 16 weeks pregnant at the time.
People magazine reported that physicians told her she could abort her child and have the tumor surgically removed. But that isn’t what Nuttall decided to do.
Instead, she chose to reject surgery and avoid chemotherapy. You see, she didn’t want to anything that might harm her baby.
The tumor continued to grow, though, and by the time she was 36 weeks along, the doctors decided they needed to act. They delivered her baby by Cesarean section and removed the tumor at the same time.
Nuttall welcomed little Penelope into the world, then began the fight to save her life. And it seemed to work at first — at least until 2016.
That was when the cancer returned, spreading this time to her brain and lungs. A GoFundMe campaign popped up to help fund her treatment.
She needed £300,000 (roughly $400,000 USD) for a round of immunotherapy in Germany. Celebrities actually got involved with the fundraising.
According to The Sun, Kate Winslet of “Titanic” fame enlisted her famous costar Leonardo DiCaprio in the effort. Nuttall recalled speaking with Winslet about the fundraising.
“I was so nervous, but she asked me how I was feeling and how my treatment was going,” she said. “She wanted to help.
“I told her I could never thank her enough, and she told me not to be daft. She said she had read about my story online, that she had three kids of her own and had thought about what she would be like in that position.”
Winslet and DiCaprio auctioned off three dates with them playing their “Titanic” characters as part of the campaign. It worked, and Nuttall was able to get her treatment.
Sadly, the cancer returned yet again in 2018, spreading to her spine, lungs, and brain. Nuttall passed away on Oct. 14.
Winslet gave a stirring tribute after learning of the young mother’s death. “Gemma was such a beacon of strength and fought this battle so incredibly hard, with grace and dignity throughout,” she said.
“My heart breaks for her mum Helen and her daughter Penelope. They have lost a wonderful mother and daughter.”
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