POV: pregnant woman wearing all white looking down holding a white stuffed bear in her lap.
Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
December 26, 2023 ·  6 min read

Teen Sacrifices Herself To Birth Son, Family Learns Of Farewell Message She Shared With A Nurse

A Mystucal Raven Highlight Story: Sometimes there are stories that are just too memorable, too beautiful, or too touching to keep locked away. That’s why we scour the archives and bring some of them back to experience again. They may make you smile or shed a tear, but they’re always meant to inspire your day.

Remember Harry Potter? Even though that is a work of fiction, Harry’s mom did sacrifice herself for him. Now, you must be thinking that this rarely happens. Well, it actually does happen quite a lot. We will be frank- no one can really measure a mother’s love for their children. So, if someone’s mother doesn’t have the need to sacrifice themselves- does it mean that they don’t love their children? Of course, they do! Mothers who are expecting a child usually forge a bond that lasts their lifetime. Now, be it Harry Potter’s mother, or this teen, a mother would never hesitate to give her life if it meant the safety of her child. 

Jenni Lake had been expecting a child before her 18th birthday- but it was not in her destiny to see her child grow up. This teen mother knew she wouldn’t survive childbirth. In fact, when the doctors were wheeling her into the hospital, she had a few words for the nurse. She said to the nurse,

‘I’m done, I did what I was supposed to. My baby is going to get here safe.” Diana Phillips, the mother of the teenager, was quite proud of her daughter. The nurse later relayed the words of the teenager to comfort her family. 

The Mother Had A Bright Future

Incidentally, if one were to look at the child, they would hardly find resemblances. The ruddy cheeks and the normal weight of the baby do provide quite a stark contrast to the teenager. When the teenager sacrificed herself, she weighed just 108 pounds. When she gave birth on the 9th of November, 2011, she realized that she wouldn’t be making it. Diana herself came to know that her daughter’s decision was fatal. In order to carry her child, she refused to undergo treatment for her brain tumor. The cancer had already spread quite a lot- and there was nothing left to do.

Image Credits: Facebook

Jenni passed away on the 21st of November 2015- having sacrificed herself for her child. Of those 12 days, she spent half the time in the hospital. She spent the other half at home. The following month, the family decided to get together. On Christmas, the entire family celebrated the birth of Christ in the same bedroom where Jenni passed away. Jenni’s family is of the opinion that the teenager left a legacy of sacrifice and not a tragedy. 

Nuzzling her grandchild, Diana mentioned, “I want him to know everything about her, and what she did.” The family recalled the infectious laugh that Jenni had, along with her rebellious streak. But when did the symptoms of her brain tumor start? If we are to understand the legacy and the sacrifice that Jenni made, we need to get back to the beginning. According to medical reports, the migraines began in 2010. At that time, Jenni was a sophomore studying at Pocatello High School. Back then, she underwent an MRI scan. The results detected a small mass. 

The Diagnoses Just Became Worse And Worse

After this, the doctors referred the teenager to a hospital situated in Salt Lake City. Here, another scan displayed that the mass had gotten considerably bigger. Soon, Jenni went through a biopsy. The doctors diagnosed her with astrocytoma- a third-stage brain tumor. Her case was truly unfortunate. She had three tumors on her brain- and three on her spine. The teenager was informed that her situation was quite rare.

Image Credits: Facebook

As it stood, her cancer had spread without any prior symptoms. Mike Lake, Jenni’s father, mentioned, “Jenni just flat out asked them if she was going to die.” As it happens with Stage-3 cancer, the answer wasn’t positive. The medical professionals stated that with treatment, she would get around 2 years. Interestingly, this brave teenager didn’t break down at that. What led to a breakdown was realizing that she might never have kids again. Her mother stated, “When they told her that she might not be able to have kids, she got upset.”

Soon, Jenni started her radiation treatments as well as chemotherapy. This was documented by her on her YouTube channel. Although this brave teen mother wanted to post daily updates, she could only post three. As expected, her treatment left her quite fragile- and unable to upload. Her videos also featured her mother, who repeatedly broke down in tears beside her.

In March of 2011, the mother who sacrificed herself for her kid started showing signs of recovery. In fact, she even went to her school prom. While she had lost her hair to chemotherapy, she was still beautiful. She had also put on a stunning blue dress with a silver headband. Despite the pain that she continually experienced, Jenni had a smile on her face. She went to the prom with her boyfriend, Nathan Wittman. While several people thought that Nathan was in it because of Jenni’s cancer- they did have several ideas of their own for the future. They had planned to open up a restaurant. But fate had other plans in store. In May, Jenni went through a relapse- experiencing stomach pains. 

A Willing Sacrifice

In her YouTube videos, Jenni always tried to put up a happy face- but there were moments. “Last night, like, I was just lying in bed and I was thinking about everything that was going on and it just like, it just hit me, like everything, and I don’t know, it made me cry.” Her mom, who was sitting beside her lamented, “Do you know how hard it is to be a mom and know that she’s sick and there’s nothing you can do.” Jenni, who now had to console her mother, stated, “It’s hard. It’s like, I don’t know how long this is going to last and I just want it to go away… I feel like this is holding me back from so much…”

Image Credits: Facebook

But, this teen mother did experience a brief ray of sunshine, when she learned that she was pregnant. She had been experiencing sharp stomach aches, and after coming from the ER, her family could hear her crying. Nathan, her boyfriend, stated, “We were told that she couldn’t get pregnant, so we didn’t worry about it.

Diane Phillips stated, “He told us that if she’s pregnant, she can’t continue the treatments. So she would either have to terminate the pregnancy and continue the treatments, or stop the treatments, knowing that it could continue to grow again.” Jenni’s doctor, Dr. David Ririe, later spoke about how, as an oncologist, he had a tough decision to make. “There are times during pregnancy in some situations, breast cancer being the classic example, where the benefits of chemotherapy may outweigh the risk to mother and baby. There are other times where the risk outweighs the benefits.”

Soon after, the mother sacrificed her life for her child, who was named Chad Michael. Jenni’s boyfriend, Nathan, would be taking care of the child. Before her demise, Jenni had stated, “Nathan will raise him”. When the baby was born and placed before her for the final time, she whispered, “I can kind of see him.”

Keep Reading: Dying Father Fights Death Just Enough To Meet His Daughter Once


  1. Teen Loses Cancer Fight After Delivering Son.” Fox News. October 24, 2015