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Diagnosed with Cancer at 32 Weeks Pregnant

Ashley’s only chance of surviving cancer was surgery—but surgery came at the price of delivering her son prematurely. Faced with losing her life and her son, her church stepped in with prayer. Read Transcript


NARRATOR: Firefighter Dave Halford and his wife Ashley

married in 2004, with dreams of starting a family

and building a life together.

Their whole world changed one day

when Ashley noticed a knot on her neck.

Very tiny.

And my immediate thought was a lymph node.

And I thought, oh great.

I'm getting sick.

NARRATOR: Doctors prescribed antibiotics,

which seemed to work.

But when she got pregnant a month later, the knot returned.

He put me on another round of antibiotics.

And again, the knot seemed to respond to that.

It shrunk back down.

But at eight months-- when I was eight months pregnant, it grew.

Like violently.

It got really big.

NARRATOR: It also became painful.

So her doctor did a biopsy as a precaution.

Ashley got a call from her doctor the next day.

ASHLEY: The very first thing he asked me, he said,

is David with you?

And instantly I knew then.

He said, it's malignant.

DAVID: But then, just a whirlwind of emotions, you

know.

Hard to even explain.

Just everything from anger, to fear, to disbelief.

My wife and my unborn child here is my whole world.

And now suddenly that's just turned upside down.

NARRATOR: Surgery was scheduled immediately to remove the mass.

But first, their son needed to be delivered.

Ashley's primary concern was for her unborn baby.

Especially his underdeveloped lungs.

And I told her, I said, no, we're not delivering.

I said, he's only 32 weeks.

And I said, he's not ready.

He's way far from ready.

And she tried to calm me down, and assure me.

She said, he has to be delivered.

She said, we have to deliver him in order to treat you.

NARRATOR: Much to the medical staff's surprise, Harley,

now 33 weeks old, came into the world not only breathing,

but screaming and kicking.

ASHLEY: I always say, that was our first miracle.

That was our first prayer answered, and the first thing

we saw God really do.

NARRATOR: Harley's birth was a victory,

but the Halfords knew they were going

to need more than one miracle for his mother to survive.

Four days after Harley's birth, Ashley woke up from surgery.

She and Dave were relieved to learn that her tumor--

now the size of a softball--

had been removed successfully.

DAVID: After she recovers, we'll get back to normal

with the new baby.

She can be a mom, you know.

I'm thinking, everything's going to be OK.

My wife's going to be OK.

NARRATOR: Five weeks later, while at the hospital caring

for Harley, who was very sick with a respiratory illness,

Ashley began seeing double.

Dr. Deborah Miller ordered CT scans, and found

the cancer had spread.

At that point she was stage four.

So she had developed metastases to the lungs

and along the perineural lining, up into the cavernous sinus

in the brain.

This is it.

I thought, you know, I have brain cancer.

I thought, I'm going to die.

And yeah, it uh, it got bad quick.

You know, but I never felt like God left me.

But I knew this was bad.

This is real bad.

And all I could do was just--

I'm here laying in bed crying and praying.

And I don't even know what I prayed.

I just-- pleading with God to help in this situation.

NARRATOR: Ashley started a regime

of chemotherapy and radiation.

But her scans showed the tumors growing and multiplying.

ASHLEY: In the actual report, it says

innumerable tumors present.

NARRATOR: Dr. Miller then changed Ashley's treatment,

but didn't offer much hope for success.

DR. MILLER: Even before we found the metastases,

the prognosis was poor.

We knew that the chances where this would recur.

And that at that time if you recur and you have

distant disease, it's terminal.

NARRATOR: Dave struggled with his faith

as he watched his wife suffering.

And up until this point, I'd just been--

just pleading with God.

I mean, almost arguing with--

I felt like, with God.

Just, you know, please heal Ashley.

Please heal her, you know.

Please take this cancer away.

ASHLEY: I can remember having to literally crawl on my hands

and knees up my stairs to get to the bathroom or to my bedroom.

Because I could not walk.

It hurt so bad.

NARRATOR: Meanwhile, the Halfords' church started

fasting and praying daily for Ashley's healing.

DAVID: I remember praying one day, Lord, whatever your will

is, I said, that's what I want.

So if it's for Ashley not to make it,

I prayed that she wouldn't be in a lot of pain.

[SNIFFLING]

And I remember praying that.

And I remember sitting here.

And I felt like I could literally feel God hugging me.

And I'd never felt that before.

I think during that prayer--

I think that's probably the closest

I've ever been to the Lord.

Because I could literally feel arms wrap around me.

And I remember almost like I could hear him say,

it's going to be OK.

She's going to be OK.

After a month of prayer, Ashley

went back in for more scans.

ASHLEY: And on that scan, I still had all the tumors,

but there was some shrinkage on some of them.

Some of them had shrunk a little bit.

And that was the very first scan that we saw anything positive.

NARRATOR: Just four months later, Ashley was in remission.

Dr. Miller was amazed.

DR. MILLER: Shocked.

I mean, ecstatic.

But with her prognosis, I was concerned that she would not

get a response.

NARRATOR: Ashley has remained cancer free since 2009.

DR. MILLER: I had an older partner ask me,

says so you are telling me you cured this young woman

of this terminal cancer?

And I said, no sir.

I'm not telling you that.

It was likely divine intervention.

And then God uses his tools in order to affect her cure.

But I said, I'm not so arrogant to think that it was me.

[LAUGHING]

NARRATOR: Fertility specialists told the Halfords

that they could never have more children.

But Harley prayed anyway.

HARLEY: I'd wake up at breakfast, lunch, supper,

and before I went to bed.

I would say a prayer.

And I would always pray for a sister.

NARRATOR: Then in February of 2012,

Ashley got a call from her doctor

about a routine blood test.

She says, Ashley, something's wrong with your lab work.

And I said, what?

She said, it says you're pregnant.

NARRATOR: After a trouble free pregnancy, Grace was born.

She was joined by Eli five years later.

The Halfords say they know first hand

that prayer changes everything.

DAVID: Everyday things I give it to God.

I give it to Him and I know from my past experience

with the Lord, that he's going to take care of things.

You know, I don't have to worry about it.

ASHLEY: But now when somebody says, will you pray for me?

I really try to take that to heart.

Because I think back to all the people

who prayed for me, and the outcome

we saw of that, and how God answered that prayer.

And it really changed how I pray for people.

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