Teen gives up chemo, life to have baby

    7:24 AM, Dec 30, 2011   |    comments
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    POCATELLO, ID (CBS) - The story of a Pocatello teenager who died to give birth to her son has been jettisoned to the national stage.

    Jenni Lake, 17, died after battling brain cancer and forgoing treatment in order to save the life of her unborn baby.

    A reporter met with the family to talk to them about how they've been coping in the month after Jenni's death and how it feels to have her name known across the country.

    Family friend Heather Cossaboom says, "I think it rocks that it went nationwide, because I think the world needs to see that not everybody is selfish."

    It's that message of selflessness that Jenni Lake's family and friends hope people across the country learn from her death. She died on November 22, just a little more than a month ago, but the battle for her life started in October of 2010. Jenni was diagnosed with grade three brain cancer and given two years to live.

    Jenni's mother Diana Phillips says, "That's where they told her that she might not ever be able to have kids."

    In March the family found out her tumors were shrinking, but Diana heard Jenni crying in her room after her boyfriend Nathan Wittman took her to the emergency room. She was pregnant.

    Diana says, "She was pretty scared, because the baby had been through two rounds of chemo from March and April and she was just about to start another round."

    Scared of the effects and committed to the life of her child, Jenni decided to stop chemotherapy. She gave birth to her son, Chad Michael, on November 9. He's named after Jenni and Nathan's fathers.

    But after the blessing of a healthy baby, Jenni's family got the worst news of all. Her brain tumors progressed and no treatment could save her. Diana says, "I mean I'm so glad that we have Chad but I want Jenni here to take care of him."

    Through the tears, it is Jenni's humor and toughness the family remembers and the pride they feel for that message of selflessness she sent to the world.

    The reporter asks, "If you could tell her one thing what would it be?" and Diana responds, "How proud of I am of her, and how much I love her."

    Nathan is raising baby Chad with the help of his and Jenni's families. Through fundraisers and raffles the family was able to raise enough to pay for all of Jenni's funeral costs and then some.


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