Almost exactly one year ago, on April 21, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 malignant melanoma. I was 31 weeks pregnant at the time. I had no idea who to turn to for support or advice. I felt so incredibly scared and alone. When I was diagnosed, like any good tech-savvy person, I immediately began Googling, although I wasn’t expecting to find much. How many people were diagnosed with cancer while pregnant? Immediately, I found Hope for Two. Just knowing that other people had had cancer while pregnant somehow gave me a tiny bit of light.
Hope for Two: Pregnant with Cancer is a registered 501c3 non-profit that provides information and support for pregnant women who have been diagnosed with cancer. Very soon after I emailed them, a kind woman emailed me back who gave me a slew of articles about cancer and pregnancy that gave me incredible comfort in this journey through the terrifyingly unknown (like, you can get chemo while pregnant, with no side effects for the baby! I had no idea such things were possible). She also promised to find a “Support Woman” who most closely matched my situation. I was astonished. Here I was, thinking that I must be the only person in the world in such a terrible situation, and yet they were able to find another woman who had been about as far along as I was when she was also diagnosed with my same kind of cancer. Just days later, I also received pamphlets in the mail that continued to provide me with comfort and hope.
My Support Woman and I emailed back and forth quite a bit in those dark days. I was able to share feelings and thoughts with her that I couldn’t even tell my own husband at that point. She helped me through the worst months of my life in a way that no one else could. She gave me so much hope that I would be able to make it through that terrifying time and I never could have done it without her and Hope for Two. I am now in the process of becoming a Support Woman myself and am so very grateful that I am now in a position where I can be the one to help and give back.
I am also raising money for Hope for Two so that they can continue to help other pregnant women. There are several ways you can help.
Second, if you want to donate, but don’t have any need for baby things, you can donate here:
You can also make a $10 donation and get this adorable kangaroo.
Finally, and most importantly, you can help spread the word about this great organization. If you know someone who is pregnant and diagnosed with cancer, let them know about Hope for Two. Even better, print off brochures or request them here and give them to your primary care physicians, OBs, midwives, or anyone who might have a patient who is pregnant with cancer at some point.
I would have been so grateful if my doctor could have followed up my awful diagnosis with information about Hope for Two, just so I could know I was not alone. Most doctors do not have experience with cancer during pregnancy, so having a resource like this can be invaluable, both for the doctor and the patient.
Thank you all so much for your ongoing support. Your love and good thoughts have meant the world to us this past year. Now we want to pay it forward, with your help.