Your Child or Your Life

Pictures used with permission from Cure 4 Carrie.

Mother Gives Her Life for Her Child

No one wants to see a child suffer. Any one of us, given the choice, would save the life of even a random child we do not know. But as the price to save that life rises, fewer and fewer will make that sacrifice. It’s part of what makes parents so amazing: for a parent, no price is ever too high.

That was certainly the case for Carrie DeKlyen, a mother in Michigan who gave her life this week to save her precious daughter. For Carrie, the baby girl’s life was worth more than her own.

Now, this is not the kind of self-sacrifice story we’ve heard so often. This wasn’t a split-second heroic act in a moment of high peril. DeKylen’s was a conscious, deliberate decision, and she had months to look back on it, to live with it, to feel its weight. And still she chose in favor of her child.

Carrie DeKylen, age 37, learned she was pregnant in April—just two weeks after she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a highly invasive form of brain cancer. She underwent surgeries to remove a tumor, but chose with her husband to forego chemotherapy that might have saved her life but would have killed her unborn child, the couple’s sixth.

“It’s painful,” husband Nick told a reporter for an article on Fox News. “But this is what she wanted. She wanted to protect this child.”

Carrie slipped into a coma in July, but continued to carry the unborn child. Life Lynn was born by emergency C-section on September 6, weighing 1 pound, 4 ounces.  (She is in the Neo-natal Intensive Care, but doing well and expected to be a healthy child.)

Carrie passed away three days later.

“Experts” or Parents?
Amazingly, there are those who believe “experts” should have more say in a child’s life than the parent does. The doctors should make the medical decisions, the schools should make the education decisions, and the state should decide all the rest. But these people have apparently never met a parent like DeKylen.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1979 put it like this: “natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interest of their child.” Which is exactly why parents, not doctors or school administrators or child service workers, are the best able to make decisions for that child.

The proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (S.J. Res. 48 in the U.S. Senate) recognizes this unparalleled role of parents by preserving their “liberty to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their child [as] a fundamental right.”

Most of us will never be put in a spot to know with certainty whether we would make the hard choices the DeKylens did. But we make similar, though smaller, choices every day.

We sacrifice what we have earned to secure what our children need. We set aside our own happiness for theirs, only to find it again in their laughter and smiles.

And so many of us make tough choices every day—those whose children have special needs or chronic illness or other extenuating circumstances. And that’s to say nothing of the single mom or dad working two jobs to put food on the table and have a little something extra for Christmas and birthdays.

Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. But with that weight comes the necessary right to make the choices that are best for your child. A government agent may want to claim that power, but will they pay the price you will for getting it wrong?

No one has more incentive to make the right choice for a child than the one who would literally lay her life down for that child’s well-being.

We know a lot of your donation dollars this month are going to help those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, or the wildfires in the north and west. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of these as well.

Even so, we thank you for continuing to stand with us to protect the right of parents to make the best decisions for their child.

Capitol Hill Update: Our efforts to add cosponsors to S.J. Res. 48 in the Senate continue. Last week we met with the staff of Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who contributed a great deal to our understanding of what we can do to better reach his side of the aisle. Our effort in the House has been held up while we take some of those steps, but we continue to appreciate the full support and cooperation of our lead Congressional sponsor. You might want to contact your senator again and ask him to support S.J. Res. 48. And stay tuned for further updates.


Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

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