Last night, around 3 a.m., Leyna woke. And it was one of those cries that let me know she was hungry or just plain annoyed and wouldn’t go back down easily… unless I nursed her. Yes, we’re still breastfeeding. I try not to do it in the middle of the night anymore, but some nights it’s just so much easier to appease her and get her back to sleep than to battle with her. Last night was one of those nights. I trudged to her room with all the enthusiasm of doing chores.

I always bring my phone with me to her room for middle-of-the-night feedings because 1. I like to use it as a flashlight to help find her ALWAYS MISSING pacifier and 2. I like to check emails and Twitter and such while she nurses.

I clicked on my email app, and noticed a name pop up that I’m very familiar with. Of course I would be. She’s been reading and commenting over here and on my Facebook page for… ever? A long time.

The opening of her email sounded like a lot of emails I get from readers. Something about how she hates to bother me for help, etc. etc. Usually this is followed by very sweet requests for advice on how to start a blog, how to potty train, how to survive postpartum anxiety.

I kept reading, wondering if I’d send her the sort of form response I’ve drafted on “how to start blogging” or if I’d have to send her a few links to Postpartum Progress.

And then I caught my breath.

And a tear fell from my cheek and onto my phone. I wiped it from the screen, off the words that read:

I am six and a half months pregnant and was diagnosed last month with some pretty serious breast cancer. I also have a two year old at home. I will be going through four rounds of chemo before the baby is born and will have a mastectomy within a month after she comes so between chemo and surgery and follow-up chemo and radiation there is no way I will be nursing her.

The heaviness of that moment took over me. Life, you are so very fucking unfair sometimes.

Her name is Jamie Thomas, and this is her family:

“my beautiful monkey Jack who keeps me going, and for whom i will fight harder than i thought possible”

 “my husband Bob, who… is pretty kick ass, especially with all of this going on….”

Her request? Breastmilk for her unborn baby.

This amazingly strong woman who has such a fabulous outlook on this battle she’s waging has one simple request, and it’s breastmilk. I have a feeling we can all come together and make that happen for her.

I immediately replied to her from my phone, sitting in my rocking chair in the pitch black room, holding my toddler closer than ever, the sound of the white noise machine droning on and my fingers tapping away at the screen.

In our email exchange she said, “This has been a huge blow but I’m going to beat this because I have no other choice in this matter. It’s just going to be a long hard road, but I’ll deal with that.”

To which I replied, “I have no doubt you will kick this in the ass and emerge a victorious mother warrior.”

Because she WILL.

Jamie and her family live in Orange County, CA. Her baby is due to arrive on October 27th. If you live in her area and think you can help her, please leave your email address in the comments below. She (or someone she knows) will be in touch with you. If you don’t live nearby, aren’t lactating, but know someone else who might be able to help, please share this.

If you just want to leave her some words of encouragement, feel free to do so  in the comments, or even better, support her and read about her journey over on her Caring Bridge page. 

UPDATE! I’m so excited to announce that Best For Babes has worked with us to set up a Miracle Milk Fund for Jamie. Read more about it here.

Also, I’m so honored this story was featured by Bonnie Rochman for  Time.com. This community is amazing and inspiring. Thank you for being a part of that.

212 thoughts on “A Warrior Mother Needs Our Help”

  1. I’m so sorry to hear this, but the outpouring of people helping is amazing. I am unable to help now, but maybe in 7 months. It’s so moving to see how many people are trying to help. I hope she kicks cancer’s ass.

  2. This broke my heart! I live in the Orange County area and have more than enough to donate. I would love to help! Sending lots of prayers.

  3. I live in Orange County, and I’m willing to help. I’m currently nursing my 21-month-old daughter and donated milk to another woman from the time my daughter was 4 months to 11 months. I realize there is a significant difference in the qualities of toddler breast milk vs. newborn breast milk. If she’d prefer to stick with milk from a mama with a younger baby, I may be able to help there, too. I have one girlfriend who just delivered her second child this week, and with her first child she had HUNDREDS of ounces per month of excess milk which I also gave to the woman I was donating to. Another one of my friends had her first baby a month ago, so no telling what her supply is like, but she may be willing to donate as well. Contact me.

  4. I would love to help! Its amazing how many people have replied to this post! I live in Georgia, I pray there is a way to ship the breast milk to you for your little one. I recently gave birth on July 22, however I have been blessed with my supply. Please let me know what I can do to help.

    Sincerely
    Sierra

    Sierraleoneb@yahoo.com

  5. Hi! I would be happy to help. I live in Mission Viejo, CA. I’m off the 5 fwy & Alicia. I currently have a 6 month old that is not on solids yet. I can start pumping and saving now. I also have some in the freezer from when he was born. You can contact me at christina.mcgoldrick@gmail.com Thank you!

  6. I shared on my FB page and hopefully some of my west coast friends will share further. My mom has just finished radiation on her 2nd battle with breast cancer, my heart goes out to you and your family. Kick cancer’s ass!

  7. I would love to help Jamie and her family. Im also in Orange County (Dana Point). I have a 2 yo and my baby is 8 months old. PLEASE let me know!

  8. I’m in Long Beach and have milk I’m happy to donate. It was pumped for my 18 month old so the age is off, but as we know it’s better than the alternative. Let me know!

  9. I live in Orange County and wish I had known about organization that could have helped me with breast milk when mine didn’t come in. My son was born nine weeks premature and it would have been a huge weight off my shoulders if I had known about such an organization. Please tell me you are having your baby at Saddleback Hospital. It has one of the best NICUs in the country and if God forbid your baby needs it or they need to take the baby early that is the hospital to be at the nurses there are wonderful not to mention the neonatologists. The perinatologist I had was also kick ass she saved both mine and my son’s life. I know she had an angel helping her but neither of us would be here today if she didn’t take action when she did. I give you my prayers for a quick recovery and a healthy delivery.

  10. This has encouraged me to find a milk bank I can donate to. It’s so courageous what Jamie is asking for, and I so wish I could help. But if I can’t help her at least I can help someone else. Keep fighting Jamie you’re in my thoughts.

  11. I can help! I live in San Pedro, CA which is only about 30-45 minutes from Orange County. I currently have a 6 month old EBF baby girl. I know she is not due for a couple months and I don’t know how it works with the age difference but would like to help in any way I can.

    My e-mail is cmaryleon@yahoo.com.

  12. I am a milk donor with Mothers Milk Bank. I still nurse my 2 year old and am giving birth in a few weeks. I may be able to donate to you depending on how I am doing nursing two at once. I live in costa Mesa. God bless you.

  13. Jamie- Stay strong. You know we are here for you anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Just a phone call or a drive away. Keep up the fight, stay strong, you will pull through this. We love you.

  14. Wow this touched my heart I never produced milk we aren’t even sure why, but all you women coming together for this women is just awesome. I come from a family that pretty much you will die from cancer before anything else so I am understanding, but seeing so many people come together exspecially these days is just amazing. I give you all so much credit and god bless you all <3.

  15. I can help if we can figure out how to get it there from Fresno. I know that in the past for mothers milk bank I would send my milk in an ice chest but I’m not sure if that’s the route we would want to go. I have milk from the first couple days my LO was born (6-11-12) out for at least a month that I can send. My email is breannwelton@yahoo.com. Let me know if that would be helpful. Praying for her.

    Regards,

    Breann

  16. I did not read all of the comments and if this is redundant I absolutely apologize…

    I was unable to breastfeed my now 20 month old due to multiple genetic disorders I have been diagnosed with and severe malnutrition, though I wanted to still provide my son with breast milk. Our pediatrician and lactation specialist at the time recommended a “breast milk bank”. I believe it is a bit pricy and I am not sure if one is available in CA but that might be an option? I know this is not much help but I will also forward this story/information to all in hopes that another mother out there can help provide the much needed breastmilk.

    I admire your strength and tenacity Jamie, and you and your family will be in my thoughts. Though I know you will be doing so without my encouragement, I nonetheless wanted to say– keep fighting!! I do not have cancer and thereby never presume to understand that which you are going through but my multiple diseases are likely to take me away from my son far too early… it’s a daily battle and one that entails much emotional, mental and physical strength but one that is absolutely worth it when I look at my child. He is my living, breathing and giggling source of strength and makes the fight worthy. I wish you all the best!!

  17. Hi, I live in Orange County (city of Orange) and I would love to help. I have been pumping and donating my extra milk for quite a few months now-I watch my diet carefully-limit caffeine and I don’t use any herbal supplements (i donate milk to an organization that helps very premature and critically ill babies so I have to have absolutely pure mama milk). I would love to help donate milk to you and your sweet babe. Please contact me if I can help. Prayers and blessings…

  18. I live in the OC (Lake Forest) and am due a week before Jamie on October 20th. I’d love to be able to help if I can. I am not pumping or nursing right now but did successfully nurse and pump for my now 2 year old for a little over a year. contact email gweleck at gmail dot com

  19. Dear Jamie,

    Fight on woman! I am awed at the responses to this post. I love and am grateful for the many women out there, brave enough to ask for what they need, and also for the women who are willing to share what they have.

    Your story, and others like it, is the reason my friend and I started the Bay Area Breastmilk Cooperative. We wanted to create a space to connect for families who needed breastmilk and families that had breastmilk to share. Since then we’ve discovered so many other great organisations out there doing the same thing – Eats on Feets, Human Milk for Human Babies, MilkShare, Modern Milksharing… to name a few.

    If you’re open to it, I would love to share your story as well. Even though you’re not in the SF Bay Area, I’m sure people here are connected to people near you who could share breastmilk. Please let me know if it’s okay. If you have any questions, please get in touch. I’d be delighted to help in any way I can.

    Many blessings to you and your beautiful family.

    and Ms. Jill? Thanks for being so consistently awesome! 😀

  20. I live in Studio City, CA so basically LA. I am currently nursing my 6 week old and have started building my stash for going back to work but I should definitely be able to get some extra for donation. Please feel free to email me at andrea.johnson26@gmail.com.

  21. Dear Jamie:
    If ANYONE can get through this YOU can. From the moment I met you at OCB in HR I knew this was a woman not to be taken lightly. You have a caring soul and the fight of a soldier! My prayers are with you and it looks like so many caring Mothers are coming to your aid. That is wonderful to see!! Please keep me in mind for the things that happen after that. I can come over and help with whatever you need. Clean, cook, babysit, you name it. I know Bob is a strong man but sometimes they need a break too. Just call Jamie. GEskew5150@aol.com or 714-349-4172
    Your baby is due on my daughter Christine’s Birthday…..that is special. Call if you need anything, that goes for Bob as well.

  22. Coming late to the party, but I’m still nursing my 13-month-old regularly. I live in Oceanside, CA. I haven’t been pumping, but for a cause like this, I can start again. Don’t know if you want/need toddler milk, but I produce lots. Please let me know if you still need donors. Jshaham@gmail.com

  23. Hello I am posting in hopes that this is still active. Icannnot offer musch physical assiatance for Jamie. But would so much love to be able to get in touch with her. Can aynone let me know how to reach her?

  24. My son who was born October 26th of last year is still nursing but slowing down. I have some milk to donate, maybe 50-100oz. It all frozen. Feel free to email me.

  25. I feel a lot of compassion for Jamie because dealing with cancer while a young mother must be SCARY. And, it’s very cool that there are mothers willing to donate their stashes. However, I was a Mom who produced a miniscule amount of breast milk –it was so paltry that my first baby was diagnosed “failure to thrive” because I kept trying to breastfeed (and follow everyone’s well meaning but misguided advice). I was smarter the second time around and gave up as soon as it was obvious that my breasts just don’t work.
    So a thought –would you still be willing to donate to a completely healthy woman who wants her baby to have breastmilk but just can’t do it?

    1. Absolutely! There are lots of women who do just that (I actually did donate my milk to a mom who produced too little while traveling to Seattle) and lots of milk banks and milk sharing organizations set up for it. I’m so sorry you had such a rough experience. If you find yourself expecting again, I’d be happy to send you some info on milk sharing networks that could help you.

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