TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa Bay-area mom is getting ready to celebrate mother’s day with her husband and young daughter.
This is a story that will play out for millions of mom’s around the country, but for this family every milestone is especially precious.
It’s an emotional story about a fighter. A mom who’s had to make some impossible choices to fight for her family and a very uncertain future, all while savoring every second of the present.
Caroline Williams loves reading to her almost two-year-old daughter, Lily.
“I want to make these memories while I can,” Williams said.
The memories are suddenly more precious than ever before. Caroline made a Build-A-Bear with Lily’s favorite song, “You are my sunshine.”
Williams fears the happiness is fleeting because of a devastating diagnosis.
One month ago, Williams learned she had glioblastoma, a stage 4 brain tumor. She immediately underwent surgery.
She’s now three weeks into radiation and just started chemo. It’s a treatment that very well could rob her of her memory or speech. So she makes recordings for her daughter to hold on to while she can, since she’s already lost so much.
“I was diagnosed at 20 weeks pregnant,” she said.
Williams’ glioblastoma diagnosis came exactly halfway through her pregnancy, which forced her to make the unimaginable decision to terminate.
“That’s when I made the choice to fight for my own life,” Williams said.
She is fighting for Lily and her husband, Jason. She knows what they’re all in for with this terminal illness because she’s seen this story before when her own friend, Michelle, faced the very same diagnosis.
“Very inspired by her, and her will to fight and that never left me,” Williams said.
Williams was Michelle’s massage therapist during her cancer battle in 2014. Michelle’s widower, Ryan DeJong, said his 27-year-old wife fought for nearly two years before she died.
“Fighter Foundation is something that started as soon as Michelle was diagnosed as soon as she made that decision that she was going to fight this disease with everything that she had,” DeJong said.
Now the Fighter Foundation is helping Williams nearly a decade later.
“The cancer doesn’t wait, you just got to keep going,” Williams said. “There is no pause or time to rest or take it in.”
Her goal now is to keep making memories and recording those precious moments while fighting to be in the 5 percent who survive long-term.
Williams said everything is looking stable but it’s hard to tell until after treatment.
She said the kindness and support has helped her family through this very difficult time.