Woman's brave fight after losing newborn child while battling cancer

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

A brave young Sydney woman is desperate for help as she deals with the agonising heartbreak of losing her first child while battling cancer.

Brianna Rawlings, 18, was diagnosed with the rare and aggressive form of the blood disease, NK cell leukaemia, after she complained of excruciating aches and persistent fevers earlier this year. 

Diagnosed while 17 weeks pregnant with her first child, Ms Rawlings, who is known as Bree, made the selfless decision to halve her own chances of survival in a bid to give her son the best chance of pulling through.

Brianna Rawlings, 18, was diagnosed with NK cell leukaemia while she was 17 weeks pregnant. Source: GoFundMe

At the start of her diagnosis, she underwent “soft” chemotherapy at Nepean Hospital with the plan to ramp up her treatment once delivering her son after 28 weeks.

However after contracting an infection, doctors decided her unborn child would need to be delivered as soon as possible to prevent passing on the sickness.

Ms Rawlings’ baby boy, Kyden, was delivered by caesarean after 26 weeks and placed into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where he initially showed signs of promise.

Yet tragically 12 days later, he passed away after developing a stomach infection.

Her son, Kyden, spent 12 precious days with her until he succumbed to a stomach infection. Source: GoFundMe

Ms Rawlings and her fiancé, Jackson, were left shattered and their ordeal was made only worse with her ongoing treatment.

She is now looking for help to fund the expensive treatment, which costs $3000 every three weeks.

Her sister, Kourt, told Yahoo News that despite Ms Rawlings’ personal battle, her response to continued devastating news was an inspiration to all.

“Bree is still a human being – despite her strong, positive and smiley personality – she has had to experience the most terribly heartbreaking events which a young mum shouldn’t have to,” she revealed.

“She is exhausted but made her son a promise to keep fighting.”

While there was a gaping void left by Kyden, there was a glimmer of hope with Ms Rawlings’s condition improving.

Ms Rawlings (left) with her sister, Kourt. Source: Facebook/ Kourt Rawlings

She was gaining weight and moving around much more freely.

A milestone came when her younger brother, Tyrone, had matched as a potential blood marrow donor, and without hesitation, he agreed to help.

But her world came crashing down once more when the leukaemia worsened, with the transplant ruled out earlier this week.

Her team of international doctors have identified a medication they want to try in a bid to save Ms Rawlings, but it comes at a cost of $3000 every three weeks.

“To continue to be strong I have to continue to keep trying different things to help me more,” she revealed.

If the drug is successful, doctors believe the bone marrow transplant can once again be pencilled in.

The 18-year-old’s positivity has overwhelmed friends and family. Source: GoFundMe

“I’m not taking things as easily as I did before but it definitely hasn’t been a very fair and fun year for us all. I’m forever grateful for my entire family, my fiancé and his family,” Ms Rawlings added.

Having previously set up a GoFundMe to help with her ongoing medical costs, her sister is calling for help at this most desperate time in a bid to fund the life-saving treatment.

“Bree just wants people to realise how real this disease is and how crucial spending time with loved ones is. It can happen to anyone, so please don’t take your health for granted,” she told Yahoo News.

“My sister deserves a chance.

“We are extremely proud of her, she keeps blowing us away with the strength and positiveness she has the energy to throw forward after hearing every piece of news.”