Abdominal pain is no strange consequence of pregnancy, so when Danielle Janofsky entered a hospital complaining of stomach pain while six months pregnant with her second child, she expected she would soon return home soon. She never returned at all. Doctors discovered that melanoma she had been diagnosed with in 2015 had spread to her stomach, liver, kidney, and brain. The 30-year-old New Jersey mom died three weeks later on Feb. 27, reports Today. But first, "she sacrificed herself to save her son," who was born via C-section on Feb. 24 weighing just 1 pound 11 ounces, Janofsky's mom wrote in a Feb. 28 Facebook post. In the weeks since, more than $80,000 has been raised to help care for baby Jake, who has chronic lung disease and is kept on a ventilator in the University of Pennsylvania's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Janofsky had been given a good prognosis after her melanoma diagnosis and its spread went undetected. An oncologist says her pregnancy may have played a role. “It’s possible that pregnancy is a type of immune suppression," says the doctor at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "Your body is really focusing its efforts on growing another human being, so it’s a little distracted on really taking care of itself." Janofsky’s husband, Max, a K-9 police officer who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, says he's heartbroken to know his wife won’t see Jake and their 4-year-old daughter, Avery, grow up. "You know how people have hobbies? Hers was being a wife and a mother," he tells NJ.com. "If there's one thing I want people to really take away from this it's that melanoma isn't a little thing," he adds. "Take it seriously and get checked." (A cancer survivor died a day after having twins.)