Breastmilk Donations Needed to Make Mom's Dying Wish Come True

tree of lifeMy mortality became the most palpable when I became a mother. Knowing that I was taking on the biggest role in my life meant that I wanted to be there for every first step my child takes for as long as possible. I became more scared of death than ever before. But then I read stories of incredibly brave mothers and became enlightened. Like the one about the mother who delivered her baby on her final day of cancer treatment. Baby is healthy and mom is recovering. But then there is the tragedy of the mom who sacrificed her life refusing cancer treatment so that her baby could be born healthy. Today I learned about a mom named Renee J. Noble who had liver cancer. And I learned about the wish she made before she died, just a month after having a beautiful baby she named Violet Janine 32 weeks into her pregnancy. She wants her daughter to be raised on breastmilk.

We can help make her wish come true.


Renee was from the Hudson Valley in New York -- where I grew up. It's a beautiful area but nothing probably looked more beautiful to Renee than seeing her daughter Violet, who was born after just one push. Violet was 4 pounds, 6 ounces at birth on November 17, 2011. She was doing well, but her mom was slowly passing away. She practiced kangaroo care, and other family members helped out with that vital skin-to-skin contact that helps preemies thrive. Mom and baby were released from the hospital on December 1. Renee lost her battle with liver cancer on December 15.

Renee's obituary revealed how she loved holistic healing, was a baker, enjoyed knitting, cooking, and going on "peace walks." She sounds like she was an incredible natural mama. Violet was her fifth child. One of her children had already passed on and I'd like to think they are now reunited.

When we read these stories, we hug our kids tighter, we become more thankful, our hearts hurt, we are in awe of how brave people can be, and we question why these things happen. But according to family and friends, Renee never asked why. She focused and stayed healthy enough to have Violet. But she did ask that her daughter be raised on breastmilk, so her family is doing all they can to make this wish come true. Even if you have just one ounce of breastmilk stored in your freezer, it's worth donating. If you can take 20 minutes to pump just once for Renee, for Violet, you will be helping out. If all of us who can donate work together to spare any milk at all, it could add up to nourish Violet and help her grow into a strong woman, just like her mother.

Violet can't have her mom, but she can and should have her wish.

The family has drop-off locations around Dutchess County, but are working to cover a larger area. They are asking for a doctor's note or lab records so they know the donating moms are in good health. Please visit Milk for Baby Violet for more details or email

Will you be able to donate or spread the word so Violet can thrive from her mom's last wish?


Image via Jonas Lamis/Flickr

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