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Mom battling cancer determined to live for premature newborn, family

New baby boy is ‘about as long as a pencil’

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The love we feel from total strangers. We’ve had emails from people saying how inspired they are by Kathy’s fight. There is no power on this Earth like love. – Jocelyn Taylor

SALT LAKE CITY — Just three weeks ago, Kathy Taylor received a devastating diagnosis. The mother of five, who was 26 weeks pregnant, was told she had an aggressive form of melanoma that had spread throughout her body.

The past couple of weeks she has been fighting to stay alive to be able to deliver a healthy boy. She gave birth on Thursday. While her health is fading, her family is holding onto hope that she will get to know her newborn son.

The 33-year-old from Bear River, Box Elder County, who has been married for 12 years to Nathan Taylor, is at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

“My baby is doing good,” she said on a home video while talking to one of her children. “His name is Luke.”

“She delivered a little, healthy preemie baby boy that was 1 pound 15 ounces,” said Jocelyn Taylor, Kathy Taylor’s mother-in-law. “He’s about as long as a pencil.”

Luke is expected to remain in the hospital until Dec. 10.

“She was doing everything in her power to hold that baby in her, so she could give him the protection and nourishment she needed to as a mommy,” Jocelyn Taylor said.

The baby entered the world a bit early so his mother could receive a treatment that hopefully will prolong her life. Seven years ago, doctors removed melanoma from Kathy’s back. The cancer came back so quickly it caught the family off guard.

“She’s fading,” Jocelyn Taylor said. “She seems to have a foot in both worlds right now.”

While she isn’t able to hold her baby, Kathy Taylor was able to reach her hand in through the incubator.

Jocelyn Taylor says her daughter-in-law is a devoted mother who has home-schooled her five other children. With the birth of her son, Kathy’s next focus was her oldest child, Ally, who turned 10 on Sunday. The family held a birthday party.

“No child should have to bear such a burden! Sunday morning Kathy woke up with a determined state of mind. All Kathy desired, her purpose for living just one more day, was so that sweet Ally wouldn't have to share her birthday with her mother's passing,” Brandon Taylor, Nathan Taylor’s brother, wrote on the Kathy’s Miracle fundme page. “Through shear will and determination, she plugged through the day.”

“We set up a Skype, had a computer in the hospital room and computer at home, and Ally opened her presents in front of the computer,” Jocelyn Taylor said.

While the family knows Kathy Taylor is on borrowed time, they are grateful for the support they have received from friends and strangers alike.

“The love we feel from total strangers. We’ve had emails from people saying how inspired they are by Kathy’s fight,” Jocelyn Taylor said. “There is no power on this Earth like love.”

The family says if anything, they hope their story will teach other families to treat each day as a gift and always say, "I love you."

On Monday, Kathy started a new treatment that the family hopes will extend her life and give her time. The family is praying for a miracle, but also preparing for a life for a husband without a wife, and children without their mother.

“She gave the gift of life to this child and we, who are going to stay on Earth, have a responsibility, and we are going to love this little guy,” Jocelyn Taylor said.

The money raised through fundme will go to pay medical expenses.

“Her organs and her body are shutting down,” she said. “The fact that she is here today must means there is some shred of hope.”

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc

Email: akewish@deseretnews.com