In the fall of 2019, Alexandra (Alex) Belluzzi received a devastating diagnosis. At just 34-years-old, Alex learned that she had breast cancer. Her concern was not just for her own life but also for the life of her preborn child, as she was also 18 weeks pregnant with her daughter Daniella. Alex’s sister, Ashley Belluzzi shared the story of Alex’s cancer and treatment on the website Love What Matters.
Tragically, many women facing such a diagnosis are pressured to end their baby’s life through abortion because of concern that treatment might affect the developing preborn baby. Ashley shared that her sister had suffered two miscarriages before becoming pregnant with Daniella, and her first concern was for the health and safety for her preborn daughter.
In the days immediately following the stunning diagnosis, Ashley asked Alex how she could force herself to eat meals as the family went from appointment to appointment in a daze. Alex responded, gesturing to her growing belly, “I need to make sure she is okay.”
Ashley writes, “From the day of diagnosis, it was always clear Alex was going to do everything and anything to not only fight for her own life, but to fight for two. At the first few doctor appointments, the only question I can remember Alex asking the doctors was, ‘What about the baby?’” Alex initially wanted to delay treatment, but doctors thought an aggressive treatment would be the best approach and did not think they could delay.
Three weeks after receiving the diagnosis, Alex, along with Daniella still developing in the womb, began chemotherapy. Ashley writes movingly about witnessing her sister’s courage. She said, “From the day she first sat in that chemo chair, it became clear she was more than equipped to fight for her life.” Even so, the sudden turn of events was hard on Alex. When she went to chemotherapy and opened the bag of gifts her family gave her to help endure the excruciating hours of treatment she shed tears, commenting, I should be opening baby gifts, not cancer gifts.”
So often, abortion activists pit the mother against the child claiming that killing an innocent preborn baby is the only way of protecting the mother’s health. However, stories like Alex’s, and many others, demonstrate that killing the baby is not necessary to save the life of the mother in serious situations. Ashley is clear that Alex did not courageously undergo treatment despite her daughter but because of her daughter. She writes, “Getting Daniella here healthy meant everything to Alex. She did everything in her power to try to prevent Daniella from feeling any stress or pain from the situation.”
Later, the family learned that the rash that tipped Alex’s care team off to the potential cancer was likely unrelated to the cancer and may have been the result of pregnancy. Likely, Alex’s cancer would have gone undetected if she had not been pregnant. Ashley shared, “Alex always says her daughter saved her life and we all believe that.” Beyond her physical health, Alex was also carried through the emotional rollercoaster of cancer and chemotherapy by her love for her daughter.
This year, Daniella turned one-year-old, and her mother continues to be monitored after rounds of chemotherapy and extensive treatment. Ashley describes Daniella as “the driving force behind Alex’s strength.” Ashley wrote for Love What Matters, “Alex still has a long road ahead of her, but she still has so much fight left in her. Her determination and will to live is greater than any fear.”
Cancer and other dangerous health complications do not necessitate the killing of innocent human life. In scenarios where the pregnancy poses a serious risk to the mother’s life, the baby can be delivered early. In Alex’s case, Daniella was delivered four weeks early because doctors did not want to risk exposing her to one of the chemotherapy drugs. She was carefully monitored throughout pregnancy and, although she was on the small side (one of the risks of chemotherapy is low birth weight), she was born healthy and able to go home after 11 days in the NICU.
Today, Alex continues to undergo immunotherapy and shares updates about life after cancer on the Instagram page FightForTwo. That sums up the beautiful stories of so many mothers who courageously fight for their lives and the lives of their children: fighting for them both.