TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Life with little ones can come with challenges.
But for mom of two Lauren Miller, the word challenge goes beyond diapers and bottles.
“I found out I was pregnant in March and it was at the end of April that’s when my joints started hurting,” said Miller.
Miller, a mom of a soon to be 9-year-old and a now 6-month-old would find that the joint pain ends with a devastating diagnosis.
“I had no idea, anything about cancer. And they let me know I had leukemia.” Philadelphia Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia was the official diagnosis. A mouth-full, as Miller jokes.
Miller was put on steroids during her pregnancy which made her platelet levels go back up so she could carry her daughter, Scarlett to term.
The one caveat--she would need to stop them after giving birth. After Scarlett was born, Miller describes her body hitting “rock bottom.”
She would be hospitalized immediately, unable to even hold her daughter for several days.
“It was just hard," Miller describes. "Because I missed her so much because she was so new. And it’s still hard every time I have to go to the hospital. It’s really hard because I’m not able to be there.”
Like many moms, Lauren had planned to breast feed. But with chemo, that was off the table.
Until that is a Facebook post made by her sister, which was seen by new mom at the time, Kayla Randall.
"It was easy for me to just pump a little bit extra and it was well worth it,” said Randall.
Donations from moms across Tucson and even Phoenix, started to come in, to help a woman they never even met.
“They were like ‘oh you need some? I have some extra, here it is,’” said Randall, who stepped up to organize all the donations to make life easier for Miller.
Randall and her husband bought a freezer off Craigslist and now sort and store all the milk for her to deliver whenever the Miller’s need.
“We have her back and we just want to show them that we do.”
It's created a way for Lauren to feel that bond with her baby, while creating a new bond of friendship in the process.
"You know, we really love them and we’re really grateful we were given an opportunity to meet them and help them in any way big or small,” said Randall.
Miller hopes to keep Scarlett on breast milk until she is a year old, but said if they run out before that, getting this many months was more than they asked for.
"It’s made such a huge difference. I mean, every ounce counts,” said Miller.
Miller is not in remission yet but is continuing to fight and is hoping that after her bone marrow biopsy next week she can be in remission and then get a transplant in July.
“The transplant process is another year of my life but at least it’s a start to the end of this. I hope,” said Miller.
To donate breast milk email: email@example.com.