Elizabeth Edwards is not just a cuckolded wife. That’s what she told Matt Lauer on the TODAY show this morning. Indeed, she is also mothering two young children while being treated for breast cancer that has spread to her legs, spine and skull. According to new research, she’s not the only parent trying to help and heal at the same time.
A study published online in the journal Cancer shows that “more than 1.5 million cancer survivors in the United States are parents living with children younger than age 18,” Reuters reports. The Cancer study was led by Dr. Kathryn Weaver of Wake Forest University. She and her colleagues analyzed data from 13,385 cancer survivors, which revealed that “an estimated 18 percent of newly diagnosed cancer survivors and 14 percent of all U.S. cancer survivors live with one or more of their minor children.” Which means, considering the entirety of the U.S. population, nearly 2 million cancer survivors are raising nearly three million children. Researchers believe that 562,000 kids “are living with a parent in the early phases of cancer treatment and recovery.”
Researchers hope this information will help doctors support patients with children in new ways. As for Elizabeth Edwards, she prefers not to think about what might happen at end of her life and instead chooses to focus on raising her children.
“I don’t let my head go to that place,” she told Lauer. “You just have to keep what you want in view always. I want to live at a normal cadence with my children.” She did acknowledge, however, that her children may have to be raised solely by their father, former presidential candidate John Edwards, and that despite rumors to the contrary, she is comfortable with that.
“I have three living children for whom this is a father whom I want them to love, on whom they’re going to have to rely, perhaps, if my disease takes a bad turn. It’s really important to me that they see him in a positive light,” she said. Elizabeth and John Edwards are divorcing after 33 years of marriage due to his affair with Rielle Hunter, who is the mother of John’s two-year-old daughter, Frances. Elizabeth’s placidity in the wake of such a stormy few years is remarkable. Here’s to hoping she soon gets a clean bill of health and joins the millions of other survivors enjoying their families.