Update: Ashley passed away on June 23 of this year. Her obituary can be read here. The obituary reads: “Ashley has left behind a stunning legacy of motherly love and self-sacrifice. Ashley’s children, Braiden, 7, and Paisley, 11 months, will be able to take solace in knowing their mother was capable of such deep love that she forfeited her own life for her children.”
Ashley Bridges seemed to be living a dream when she met her fiance, Jonathon, and he proposed last fall. The couple soon learned they would be having a baby. Ashley's only complaint was persistent knee pain that got worse as time went on.
Then she got the news that would change her life: At 10 weeks pregnant, she learned she had a three centimeter tumor in her femur that would require surgery and chemotherapy.
The treatment, she was told, would require an abortion.
“There’s no way I could kill a healthy baby because I’m sick,” Bridges, 24, told the Los Angeles CBS affiliate KCAL.
Doctors found the tumor grew to 10 centimeters within two months, yet Bridges refused a full course of treatment to give her baby – whom she learned was a girl – the best chance at survival. She had a knee replacement to take out the tumor, which filled four inches of her femur.
At eight months, her doctors insisted she deliver her girl and begin chemotherapy. “That’s basically when they told me that it was terminal,” she said.
Doctors gave her one year to live, news that crushed her five-year-old son, Braiden.
But her daughter, Paisley, was born safe and healthy.
The whole family helps out in their Wildomar, California, home. Jonathon, who is in the military, works nights so he can be home with the child during the day.
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“The thought that I’m not going to see her grow up is really hard,” Ashley said.
Still, she has no regrets. “Maybe I’m not supposed to be here and she is,” she added.
Ashley began aggressive treatment, lost her hair, but seems to have had some success in stopping the spread of the cancer. She said that on September 27 her doctor told her that her cancer “hasn't spread to my legs like we thought and the [tumors] in my head haven't grown and the one that was causing me to blind seems completely gone. The ones in my hips and lower spine have grown so little there really isn't a difference!!!!”
“I'm crying, I'm so happy,” she wrote. “Thank God.”
The family has a GiveForward account to help cover their expenses. Already, she has raised $32,000 – some $12,000 more than her goal. You may donate here.