Teen Mom Diagnosed With Terminal Brain Cancer Finds Strength In Motherhood:

January 18, 2018
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A 18-year-old Pennsylvania woman from who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer on Dec. 10, 2017, while seven-and-a-half-months pregnant, says that she “has no fear” thanks to her strong faith and love for her 2-week-old daughter.

Scatton, who’s a college freshman in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, learned that she has a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma tumor,-  a deadly and rare form of brain cancer. It was discovered after severe symptoms brought her to the hospital during her third trimester. The teenager started experiencing speech issues and she had difficulty moving her legs.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Scatton tells PEOPLE about her grim diagnosis. “But in that moment I gave it to God. There is nothing else I could have done.”

Scatton held off on the required treatment as long as she could out of fear that it would harm her baby, but when her symptoms became debilitating, she was admitted to the hospital on Christmas Day – and she had to immediately start radiation.

Just a few days later, on Jan. 4, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, whom she named Aires Marie.

Aries got the right amount of time that she needed to be in there and God protected her in my belly,” Scatton says. “I knew I was raising a healthy baby, it was just me that was sick. I knew that I had to keep pushing for her. I did the things that I had to do.” Scatton says the best day of her life was the day she became a Mother.

“I was relieved that I was able to be awake when she came out,” says Scatton. “I saw her right away. That was a blessing and I was unbelievably happy.”

It’s those blessings that she now chooses to focuses on.

Dana Scatton with her brother JJ Gundry
Credit: Dana Scatton

She was discharged from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on the very same day as her daughter.

We’re blessed to leave on the same day,” says Scatton, who will be moving to the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia until she finishes radiation treatment on Feb. 1.

According to her older brother, JJ Gundry, doctors gave Scatton 3 months to live if she didn’t undergo radiation. But with radiation, her life expectancy is now 9 to 12 months, he says.

“Doctors always reference the statistics and it’s a very low survival rate,” he says. “But there are also a lot of treatments and clinical trials  — some in phase two — that have positive results.”

The family is now figuring out what course of treatment Scatton should get, where that treatment would be and how much it will cost to make it happen and they’ve created a GoFundMe page that has since raised over $45,000.

Scatton says she is choosing to stay positive through all of this, and when she thinks about her daughter’s future, she sees herself in it.

“I see myself taking care of my daughter, raising her and living in my life,” she says. “I’m taking things one day at a time.”

Scatton hopes to inspire others to realize that “they can live their lives with no fear, too,” she says.

When she wakes up each morning, she finds joy in seeing her daughter. “She is the most beautiful thing,” she says. “I am so proud of her.”

Gundry says the family is blown away by his sister’s courage. “She has been a rock for our entire family,” he says. “She is calm, peaceful and strong,” he says. “She always sees the positive and that’s pretty amazing.”

Dana Scatton and baby Aries Marie
Credit: Dana Scatton

He will also make sure that little Aries Marie will always be the family’s focus. “She is Dana’s legacy,” he says, “and protecting that legacy will be our number one priority.” He told People magazine.

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