Many little girls dream of growing up and becoming a mom, having a loving husband, and raising a family in a house with a white-picket fence.
Caroline Deloca was one of those little girls, and her life was off to a pretty great start. At only age 26, she had a loving husband, Peter, and the couple already had five beautiful children, ages 8 and under. Caroline and Peter were thrilled to find out they were expecting their sixth child earlier this year, despite some health challenges that Peter had been having.
But then, in May, Caroline received shocking news:
She had Stage 3 breast cancer.
Unfortunately, the Deloca family was already familiar with cancer. Peter has been batting Synovial Cell Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer in his right tibia bone, since 2012. But Caroline was nonetheless shocked to discover she had breast cancer at such a young age.
When I heard this family’s story, I honestly couldn’t believe that one family could deal with so much. Five young kids, a husband who has cancer, and then to get breast cancer at 26, while pregnant with your sixth child? Well, it kind of makes me hate myself for complaining about my toddler ripping his shoes and socks off at the grocery store the other day, you know?
With a lot of faith and strength that got them through Peter’s cancer treatments, Caroline and her family decided to face her own battle with breast cancer with the same hope and determination. In the last two months of her pregnancy, Caroline underwent four rounds of chemotherapy. (A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that delaying chemotherapy did not improve outcomes for babies.) And despite extreme fatigue and stomach issues, her pregnancy continued without complications.
To add even more to this poor family’s shoulders, they needed to find new housing closer to family and help in the community. Coldwell Banker Real Estate agent Meg Robinson, who went to school at Everest Academy in Clarkston, MI with Caroline, helped the couple find a new home and actually move in only days before Caroline gave birth.
Induced at 37 weeks on September 10th at Beaumont Royal Oak Hospital in Michigan, Caroline delivered a healthy baby boy named Jacob. Robinson was in attendance at the birth, lending Caroline some much-needed support as she welcomed her sixth child into the world.
Twelve days later, Caroline had a double mastectomy and in her recovery, has once again started chemotherapy. This week, Caroline’s check-up scan revealed that she does have some cancer remaining in her milk ducts. But despite the setback, her doctors are still “thrilled” with the results and her prognosis, according to some of her friends I spoke with.
In addition to starting a GoFundMe page for Caroline and her family to raise money for medical treatments and bills, friends say the support for Caroline has been “amazing.”
Friends, family, and even school moms in the neighborhood have been lending their time and help to Caroline. “A lot of moms have reached out to offer help with diapers, formula, groceries, meals, money, driving her to appointments, and childcare,” says Anne Dziekońska, who has been helping organize support efforts for Caroline.
Photographer Chelsie Cantin of Vivid Imagery in Grand Blanc, donated one of her “Life & Love” sessions, a program she set up to give deserving individuals free photography sessions, to Caroline and baby Jacob. “I heard her story and knew that the best thing I could give was my time, just having a child myself, I couldn’t imagine what she could be going through,” Cantin explains. “I wanted to give her whatever I could to help give her some more hope to keep fighting.”
Dziekońska reports that one Everest Academy teacher even set Caroline up with a brand-new TV and plenty of “chick flicks” to help get her through her recovery. And because Caroline is unable to breastfeed due to the cancer and the chemo, another mother donated extra breast milk to help feed baby Jacob.
Predictably, Caroline’s family has been forced to be split up during her treatment and ongoing recovery. Two of her aunts have been helping with two of the children, while three of the other kids are on an extended visit to Caroline’s mother in Florida. Although the children are doing well, one can only imagine how her heart is breaking to be separated from her children.
Dziekońska notes that she didn’t really know Caroline all that well prior to learning about her battle with breast cancer, but explains that it didn’t matter when it came time to helping a mom so desperately in need of support.
“A mom in need is a friend indeed,” says Dziekońska simply.
You can send some love, prayers, and financial support to help this mom in need, her family, and sweet baby Jacob right here.More On