Filipina cancer mother sacrificed life for unborn baby

Philippine Daily Inquirer
Dec 10, 2005
Reproduced with Permission

A British-based Filipina mother who found out she had cancer after becoming pregnant sacrificed her life for her unborn baby by refusing an abortion and chemotherapy, a British newspaper said Friday.

Devout Catholic Bernadette Mimura -- known as Milai -- shunned the potentially life-saving treatment because doctors told her it would kill the child, regional daily the Northern Echo reported.

The 37-year-old, who lived near Stockton-on-Tees, northeast England, with her British partner, Adam Taylor, survived long enough to see the birth of their son, Nathan.

But soon after seeing him baptized, she was transferred to a hospice and died about a week later.

"Being a Catholic, for her abortion was out of the question," Taylor told the newspaper. "It was a tough decision but the decision was we could not give up on Nathan."

The youngster -- now four-months-old -- was premature but was born fit and healthy.

The baby, whose mother was given a mild form of chemotherapy to suppress her breast cancer, had to be induced after she developed complications.

Priest Alan Sheridan, who performed the baptism, told Britain's domestic Press Association news agency: "Bernadette said the most important thing was the birth of her baby and she would not do anything to harm him.

"Having an abortion was never a consideration. I know she talked it over with Adam and because she was a Catholic, there was no way she would have done it.

"She had to judge which life was more important and she just prayed there would be a cure for cancer."

Sheridan is spearheading an appeal to raise 3,700 pounds (5,492 euros, 6,490 dollars) to repatriate Mimura's body to the Philippines for burial. Money left over will help her other three children from a first marriage.

The priest said he hoped the Manila government would help with a grant to fly the three youngsters to Britain for the ceremony.