27-Year-Old Mom Gives Birth to Son While Fighting Breast Cancer

September 19, 2020

Cassandra Zelda was just 20 weeks pregnant in February when the unthinkable happened – doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. That meant the rest of her pregnancy would be very different than she had imagined.

“I just couldn’t believe it at the time. I didn’t want to believe it, I was in denial,” Cerda told PEOPLE fo receive the news.” I couldn’t believe it, I was pregnant, I didn’t think something like that could happen to me. But cancer doesn’t discriminate, and that’s shocking.”

The 27-year-old woman from Mission, Texas, has since undergone treatment to fight the disease, and doctors at Houston MD Anderson later found that her lymph nodes had spread.Cerda began chemotherapy in April and will continue it until doctors provide an update on her progress in the coming weeks.

Cerda has been through a lot in the past few months, but she says she is stronger than ever.

 

“I was scared. I was scared to death,” Zelda, who also has a 2-year-old son, recalled.” But I’m glad that I got through that phase. At first, my life was very difficult and I would cry a lot. I had no hope. When you hear the word cancer, it sounds like you’re going to die.”

Cerda made all of her chemo appointments and gave birth to a healthy baby boy on June 17, about a week before her due date. Now that the pregnancy is over, she has two weeks to recover before she goes in for her next appointment.

“They’ll do another review to see if my tumor or lymph nodes have shrunk, so we’ll see,” she said.” I’m hoping that when I’m evaluated again, my tumor and my lymph nodes have shrunk and that the first round of chemo is working.”

“Because if it doesn’t,” she added, “God, I don’t know what’s going to happen from there.”

 

Janie Hernandez, a close friend of Cerda’s, has started a GoFundMe to help pay for her continued treatment. As of Wednesday afternoon, the page had raised nearly $15,000.

While Cerda has opened up about the fear she’s endured since receiving the life-changing news in February, she says she doesn’t want anyone to feel sad for her. But if, by sharing her story, she can help bring strength to others, it’s worth telling.

“I don’t want people to feel bad for me,” she said.” No, that’s not the point. I want people to know that no matter what it is, if you’re facing an obstacle in your life, small or big, it doesn’t mean you have to fall down on your own and say, ‘You know what? I give up.”

“No, the others are fighting through something harder and they passed,” she continued.” That’s my message and my purpose.”