A mom losing her battle with breast cancer gave her daughter a first birthday to remember.
Athena Krueger was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma — a form of breast cancer — while pregnant in 2013. Athena's husband Ben told Today that they learned of her lump and pregnancy simultaneously. She started chemotherapy at 15 weeks pregnant and delivered her baby Amari via Caesarean section at 32 weeks.
Amari recovered well, but Athena did not. According to her blog, the cancer had spread to her lung, lymph nodes and brain, leaving the new mom weak and fighting for a chance to see her daughter's first birthday.
Knowing that this may be the only birthday she'll get to celebrate, Athena worked with her husband and friends to make it special. They decided on an Alice in Wonderland theme at Athena's home where she'd be most comfortable.
Ignoring doctors' advice to stay in the hospital, Athena went back home where 300 family members, friends and co-workers greeted her in an elaborate backyard party complete with intricate scenery, and her husband dressed as the Mad Hatter.
The party was held on May 2, three days before Amari's birthday. Athena got to see her daughter officially turn 1 on May 5. She died the next day, in her husband's arms.
"I'm hoping that between the pictures of this party and everything, they'll help me teach Amari all about her mom as she grows up," Ben told Today. "I don't want her to ever forget who she is or where she came from — it's pretty amazing."
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