Imagine your baby has cancer -- and it gets so hopeless and awful for her, you face an awful decision. Undergo risky surgery, or give her a gentle release from life? Danielle and Brett Matney were faced with this awful choice when their 17-month-old daughter, Addi's, struggle with cancer took a dire turn.
Addi had developed tumors on her liver that were so large, removing them might destroy her liver altogether. There was a long waiting list for a donated liver. And worst of all, Addi's doctors weren't optimistic that she would even survive the surgery. Should they keep fighting, or had they already lost the fight? Addi answered that question for her parents.
The Matneys saw their daughter fighting for her life, and decided they needed to give her that chance. “We talked about it and prayed about it,” Brett says, “she’s continued to fight and we’re not going to give up on her.” Mom Danielle says, “As long as she’s fighting we’re 110 percent fighting with her, we’re right there with her along the way." Danielle has a Facebook page for her daughter, Angels for Addi.
They found a compromise. Doctors removed the largest tumor and are fighting the other one with chemo treatments. Meanwhile, they're hoping a liver becomes available, and they're hoping when it does, Addi will be strong enough for another surgery. It's a scary gamble. The Matneys know that childhood cancer kills seven kids a day. Addi could be one of those kids someday.
It must take an enormous amount of courage and hope to fight with their daughter. Addi's entire short life has been running on hope and prayers. She was born tiny with one health challenge after another, just barely clinging to life. Her life is a one day at a time endeavor -- but that's what makes her life all the more precious. I think it's that struggle against the odds, and the preciousness of every day Addi lives on Earth, that fuels the Matneys' hope.
How would you know whether to keep fighting a disease with your child or to let her go?
Image via Fox4KC