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Mom Dies After Delaying Chemotherapy

A woman who delayed cancer treatment during pregnancy to make sure her daughter was born healthy has died after a 20-month struggle against her illness.

Margie Janovich, who died Sunday night at age 44, was five months’ pregnant when she was diagnosed in July 1995 with thyroid cancer.

Her doctor told her that treatment could end her pregnancy, so she decided to put it off until the birth of her ninth child.

Janovich gave birth to a healthy child and soon began chemotherapy in January 1996, but doctors said her unusually aggressive cancer had already spread to her breasts and the lining of her lungs. A number of different treatments failed to work.

“I would much rather give up my life for my baby,” Janovich told The Associated Press last year. “Any good mother would do the same. I know there’s a lot of them out there.”

Until she was hospitalized for the last time three weeks ago, she continued looking after her six sons and three daughters, ranging in age from 21-year-old Nick to 15-month-old Mary Beth. She taught three of the children at home.

Her husband said that someday he’ll tell Mary Beth what her mother gave up so she could live.

“I’ll just tell her the whole story the way it was,” Ron Janovich said Monday.

“If there was a saint on Earth, that was her.”