On May 6, 33-year-old Athena Krueger passed away from a rare form of pregnancy related breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is found in about one in every 3,000 pregnant women.
Doctors told Athena and her husband, Ben, that she had stage two invasive ductal carcinoma and should start aggressive chemotherapy. They decided to start treatment immediately and deliver their daughter eight weeks early via cesarean section.
After their daughter was born, they named her Amari, which means, “Gift from God.” Although Athena was able to spend one full year with her daughter, her cancer spread to her lungs, brain and lymph nodes and she passed away the day after her daughter’s first birthday.
However, a week before her death she put on a huge birthday bash for Amari and nearly 300 people attended the event, which was an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday tea party. Ben said that Athena had hope in God throughout her battle with cancer and never lost faith.
He said, “At no point until the very end did she believe she wasn’t going to be healed. She felt God’s power was the only thing that could heal her. She turned a lot more people to faith.” On her blog, Athena wrote, “I fully trust everything will be fine, regardless what the outcome is. The best thing is to take bad situations and turn them into good.”
Additionally, on her blog she wrote a letter to her daughter before she was born. She said, “If at any time you wonder how much you mean to me please remember. You are my miracle and I fell in love with you as soon as I knew you were here with us. You helped save me in more ways than one and for that I feel so blessed to have you call me your mom.”
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According to USA Today, on the day of Athena’s death she told her husband, “I’m going on a trip” because she already knew she was headed for heaven. She also asked him to let her go and reminded him that he would see her again. In Athena’s obituary, her family describes her like this: “During her battle, Athena’s belief in God was radiated out for all to see. She had faith that would move mountains and was unparalleled to most on earth. Athena’s journey into heaven wasn’t always easy, but she had strength, courage and faith that supported her on the journey. She will forever be an angel for many people and will never be forgotten.”
Now the Krueger’s are grieving the loss of Athena but remembering her for her faith and trust in God. Ben concluded, “It’s awfully tough to be sad when you got Amari. It’s really sad and tough right now, but tomorrow the sun will come up again, and we will make the day what it is. It’s what Athena would want.”