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Woman denies cancer treatment to save unborn baby, dies weeks after giving birth

Elizabeth, Max and Lily Joice
Elizabeth, Max and Lily Joiceyoucaring.com

As of Friday, a YouCaring.com online fundraiser has $35,685 to help raise money for Elizabeth Joice's family after she died from cancer, just weeks after her baby Lily was born.

After Joice was told she would never have children because chemotherapy had left her infertile, she miraculously got pregnant. But just one month into the pregnancy her cancer returned and she was given a choice - terminate her pregnancy to have a possibly life-saving scan, or continue the pregnancy without knowing where the cancer might spread.

"The amount of elation that we felt when we found out that we were pregnant --- I mean I'm not one for talking miracles but it very much felt like a miracle bringing a child into this world," Elizabeth's husband Max says. "I mean it wasn't just important for me, it was one of the most important things for Liz."

Six weeks after her daughter, Lily, was born, Joice passed away, losing her battle with cancer which had spread throughout her body.

Her husband explains, "We felt that if we terminated this pregnancy and did these scans, if it turned out that there was no evidence of this disease after the scans, then we would have possibly given up our only chance at having a child naturally and would have done it for nothing."

However, in her third trimester, it was clear the cancer was spreading. She began having trouble breathing due to tumors in her lungs. Doctors performed a C-section two months early to deliver Lily.

"It was incredibly difficult to...enjoy this amazing moment as much as you possibly can, yet to know that you're facing something so incredibly dire, and the chances didn't look good at that point," her husband said.

Doctors found cancer in Liz's pelvis, abdomen and heart. She died six weeks later, on March 9, just a few weeks before her 37th birthday.

"Her spirit, her optimism, her strength, it radiated out of her and it had such an incredible impact on people who met her. Her optimism and her courage and her bravery gave people hope and that's what she did for everybody," says her husband.

If you would like to help the Joice family with medical expenses and a fund for Lily, donate here.