In Vancouver, Aimee Taylor has a beautiful five-month-old daughter called Alexa. She also has cancer.
The plan, before illness struck, was that Aimee would breastfeed Alexa for the first 12 months of her life. But a devastating diagnosis soon put paid to that.
The program of chemotherapy that Aimee must soon embark upon means that she'll be unable to feed Alexa herself for much longer. Indeed, in the coming days, she'll be forced to do it for the final time. It is a heart-rending tale and one that has touched a nerve here at OM®. For us, there is nothing more sacred than that profound connection between a mother and a child. To be denied it is something that we're unable to imagine.
'I always wanted to be able to give her the best start that I could,' explains Aimee. 'I always said that I'd breastfeed her for a year but I'm going in for chemotherapy soon and so, in the next few days, I'll have to breastfeed her for the last time. That's going to be heartbreaking'.
Here at OM®, we can feel Aimee's pain. It heartens us a little to report that not everything about this tale is so sad and that, thanks to connection in a different form, something positive can still come from this most desperate situation.
You see, Margo Tafts, a close friend who met Aimee last year at a prenatal class, has made it her mission to help out. The two moms gave birth to girls less than two weeks apart and even shared the same midwife. Donating her own milk - frozen for use when Alexa needs it the most - seemed like the obvious thing to do.
'People have used wet nurses for centuries and, for me, because our daughters were born just 11 days apart, it seemed like a total non-brainer,' says Margo. Not that our tale ends just there . . .
You see, not content to just donate her own milk, Margo has been using social media to encourage others to do the same and, to date, around 1500 ounces (a quarter of the total that Alexa will need to reach her first birthday) has been collected and frozen for future use.
'It's historic and the response so far has been great,' says Margo. 'I don't know if it's the heart-wrenching story of a cancer diagnosis for a mom with a five-month-old, but people have really responded. The support has been overwhelming.'
Aimee's partner, Evani Goll, works at the BC Cancer Agency and lost both her parents to the disease. This isn't the first time that Aimee has been diagnosed with cancer (before Alexa's birth, she endured major colon surgery), but together, and with the support of friends old and new, the pair are determined to beat it for the sake of their baby.
'Alexa was a long time in the making,' adds Taylor. 'Before this, our biggest issues were not sleeping through the night and teething. That seems so small now. Thankfully, we've got amazing friends and family, and they've all been incredible'.
Here at OM®, we'd like to wish Aimee, Evani and Alexa well and applaud Margo and everyone else who has helped this beautiful family . . .
Can YOU help Aimee and Alexa?