Human Interest

IN MEMORY: After a cancer diagnosis while pregnant, she fought for her life and her child’s

Jessica Hanna, cancer while pregnant

Jessica Hanna, wife and mother of four who bravely fought cancer while pregnant, has died.

“At 8:02pm on Saturday April 6, my beautiful bride Jessica peacefully went to her eternal reward,” her husband wrote on her Instagram account @blessed_by_cancer. “She received Extreme Unction and the Apostolic Pardon from Fr Canon Sharpe Thursday. On Saturday she was very peaceful and surrounded by her loving family, she breathed her last. The cancer was just too aggressive. She suffered joyfully, and without fear in her last days. Please keep our family in your prayers.”

Jessica had noticed a dent in one of her breasts that doctors initially wrote off as benign. But in 2020, while pregnant with her fourth and youngest child, she asked her OB/GYN to check the dent again. This time, she learned that the tumor was 13 centimeters and that it was Stage 4 terminal breast cancer that was present in some lymph nodes. She was 14 weeks pregnant and several doctors advised her to have an abortion. Jessica refused.


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A post shared by Jessica Hanna (@blessed_by_cancer)

As a Catholic person who stood strong in her pro-life values, Jessica told EWTN that learning she had cancer while she was pregnant forced her to truly live out those values.

“It was just a journey of, ‘Wow. Now you’ve talked the talk — the pro-life talk. Now you’ve become the woman everybody uses in their arguments — what if the woman’s life is in danger?” she said. “And now it’s time for me to walk the walk.’”

Two days after receiving the diagnosis, Jessica, having felt a calling from God, created a social media account to share her experience and build a prayer community. She would pray for her followers and offer up her suffering for them and their intentions. Over the last few years, she built a following of over 40,000 people.

“I thought no suffering should ever go to waste,” she said. “I don’t know where God is taking me. Is he going to take me to the path where I need to show people how to die gracefully, with his grace and mercy? Or is he going to show a miracle?”



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A post shared by Jessica Hanna (@blessed_by_cancer)

Jessica sought several opinions from different doctors before she decided how to proceed. After refusing abortion, she began chemotherapy treatments in hopes of beating the cancer. “Many people are not aware chemotherapy can be actually quite safe during pregnancy,” she said. “I chose the middle road that I would do some chemotherapy with some modifications…”

She added, “[Abortion] was not necessary at all. My prognosis didn’t change. My treatment plan did not change — pregnant or not pregnant.”

After each treatment, she would pray at the tomb of Blessed Father Solanus Casey, who is on the path to sainthood and whose body is buried near Jessica’s hometown of Detroit. She explained, “I prayed at his tomb for me to be miraculously healed and for my son to come out beautiful and healthy.”

She also asked St. Gianna Beretta Molla for her intercession. St. Gianna was also diagnosed with a life-threatening condition while pregnant and chose to do treatments during pregnancy that would not endanger her baby, just as Jessica had.

Months later and two weeks after she gave birth to her son, Thomas Solanus, Jessica’s scans showed no sign of cancer, and her diagnosis changed to curable. She credited her son because if she hadn’t been pregnant, she wouldn’t have been at the doctor asking for the dent in her breast to be checked again.

On December 12, 2022, her cancer had returned. It was stage 4 again and considered terminal. Despite treatments, the cancer spread to more lymph nodes, her bones, and her lungs.

In January of 2023, Jessica posted to her Instagram account, “In my life as I look back I praise God for the hard times because those were the times He called me closer to Him. Those were the times that I finally got up and stripped myself of the world, emptied myself of temporary things in order to fill my soul with the eternal.”

Jessica survived for more than a year after her cancer returned, and fought bravely with grace. In one of her final Instagram posts on Good Friday, she wrote, “[B]e sure to remember – with every Good Friday comes an Easter Sunday. With death comes resurrection – Christ made it so. So be joyful in your sufferings because Christ made suffering redemptive when He expired on the cross. Do not despair, instead offer and rejoice! Your Good Friday will soon become Easter Sunday…so long as you first pick up your cross and not run from it.”

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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