Death of a heroine

John 15:13 tells us, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  That applies, of course, to both sexes – as Carrie DeKlyen has just demonstrated, at the cost of her life.

A Michigan woman who chose to forego cancer treatments that would have prolonged her life but ended her pregnancy died Saturday, three days after giving birth to her sixth child.

“I’ll see you in Heaven,” Nick DeKlyen said to his wife just before she died.

“We stayed by her until she took her last breath,” he said. “It’s in God’s hands now.”

The 37-year-old woman died surrounded by family at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.

She had been in a coma since July and gave birth to a baby girl via emergency cesarean section on Wednesday.

Nick DeKlyen said his daughter is doing better than expected in neonatal intensive care, gaining weight and “almost breathing on her own.”

“She’s going to be fine,” he said. “She’s going to be here for four or five months, but we expect her to be a healthy baby … The doctor just said the timing (of the birth) couldn’t have been more perfect.”

Doctors removed Carrie DeKlyen’s feeding and breathing tubes on Thursday.

She chose to forgo chemotherapy to treat her brain cancer, since it would have meant ending her pregnancy.

There’s more at the link.

I know there will be those who do not share Carrie and Nick DeKlyen’s faith.  They may argue that she should have chosen to live at the expense of her unborn child, so that she could be there for her husband and their five existing children.  That’s their privilege . . . but I say without any hesitation that Mrs. DeKlyen died a heroine’s death, giving her life that another human being’s life might be saved.  I daresay she knew that her cancer, glioblastoma, has a very low survival rate, and treatment is almost always unsuccessful beyond a year or so;  but that doesn’t take away anything from her courage.  She gave up her chance at life, to give her daughter a chance at hers.

May Carrie DeKlyen be blessed in this world and the next, and may she rest in peace.  May her husband and their six children be blessed by and in her memory, and continue to show, to each other and the world, the standard of love and courage she has forever enshrined for them as an example;  and may they all be reunited in whatever awaits us beyond the veil of death.

A heroine indeed.



  1. Peter, why do you do this?

    Just when I am convinced that people have lost thier values amongst thier selfish desires. Just when I am pissed off about daily issues. Then you have to post this.

    Damn it…

  2. No matter what someone believes or no. She showed the world the best in the human heart. Selfless love. Dauntless courage in the face of certain death, and a commitment. Not to a blind faith. But to life. Even at the cost of her own. We give men on battle fields our highest awards and build monuments to them for lesser acts.—Ray

  3. Wow. I was just killing a little time before I get ready for church this morning and I read this.

    What a great story to put – and keep – my faith in perspective. She certainly was welcomed into heaven with the words, "Well done good and faithful servant", and I'm sure her husband will be greeted the same way.

    Well done, indeed.

  4. Dominus vobiscum, Carrie DeKlyen.

    Glioblastoma is a horrible diagnosis and the treatment might be as bad as, or even worse than, the disease. I had a friend die from complications of that surgery 20 years ago. Her selfless courage in the face of certain death is as great as any you'll ever see. Ray put it perfectly, "we give men on battle fields our highest awards and build monuments to them for lesser acts".

  5. A few additional observations:

    — Cary was diagnosed in March/April, comatose by July. She obviously had a very aggressive Grade 4 brain tumor. Mean time to end of life on such tumors is generally less than 15 months. Also, glioblastoma –and many similar types of tumors– do not respond to chemotherapy. The chemo doesn't reliably traverse the blood-brain barrier (and clinical trials are what they are because they haven't been proven to work, let alone consistently.) In light of her rapidly advancing condition, she made a logically sound decision to forgo treatment, pregnancy notwithstanding.

    — Dad has 6 children to raise, between the ages of 0 and 18, the youngest of which was born premature –is on life support and severely underweight– and likely have significant developmental disability.

    — Dad has no employment, and relies on "Cure 4 Carrie" GoFundMe page to support his family.

  6. A truly amazing woman, in this day and age of "selfies" and self-centered people. I often despair that our culture is dying, at the hands of the Left – the progressives/liberals, people like Obama who hate America for what it once was, and still tries to stand for – but then Ihear not only of the outreach of strangers-to-the- victims, like the "Cajun Navy", but the loving selflessness of this mother toward her unborn child.

    Yes, this woman almost certainly would have died anyway, but she chose to do what was best for her child, while most women we have seen in public venues (TV/Hollywood/public office) would have willingly sacrificed their unborn child for just a few minutes of longer life. We see it every day in the millions of abortions done in this country, for no reason beyond the "mother's" convenience.

    Carrie DeKlyen displayed the characteristics of a true mother, who loved her child more than life itself. I am not religious, but I know in my heart without a doubt that she rests in peace.

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