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A swelling on the young mother's neck left her in pain, but what doctors found shattered the entire family's life

Pure hope

Ashley Hallford from Douglasville, Georgia, always wanted to have a big family and it looked like her dream was coming true. While at college she ran into David, a childhood friend, and they both knew that there was something more than just friendship between them. They began dating and eventually got married. After college they both got good jobs, bought a house and started doing some family planning.

Ashley soon became pregnant and at first everything seemed fine. But a few weeks into the pregnancy she noticed a swelling on the side of her neck. She thought it had something to do with her lymph nodes, so she went to an ear-nose-throat specialist. The doctor prescribed some medication and initially it seemed to help and the lump got smaller. A short time later, however, it began growing again. Ashley went back on the medication again. This cycle continued until the 32nd week of pregnancy.

You can watch the whole story of Ashley's battle with cancer in this video:

At this point the lump was growing uncontrollably. Ashley was scared and asked her doctor to perform a biopsy. The result was a nightmare: Ashley had cancer. But the strange thing was that no one could identify what kind of cancer it was. Specialists from all over the country examined the lump and could only agree on one thing: it was definitely malignant. They concluded that it was probably caused by hormonal factors, but none of them could say exactly what type of cancer Ashley had.

Nevertheless, Ashley began treatment. Not long after that, in the 33rd week of pregnancy, she gave birth to her son Harley on November 17, 2007. Fortunately, despite being premature, little Harley was in perfect health.

Four days later Ashley underwent surgery to remove the tumor from her neck. But after the operation an examination showed that the cancer had spread to her brain, lungs and liver. Ashley had Stage 4 cancer, which in most cases means that it is too far advanced for treatment to be effective. The brain tumor was directly behind her optic nerve and couldn't be surgically removed. As it grew, Ashley lost sight in her right eye.

Ashley battled through the torturous chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but after a month it looked like it was all in vain: the tumors weren't only continuing to grow, they were actually multiplying! There were actually so many that the doctors couldn't even count all of them. All they could do was make some adjustments to Ashley's chemotherapy treatment and hope for a miracle.


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