Parents of 2 Toddlers Both Battling Cancer

Double diagnosis came within months of the birth of their 2nd daughter
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2015 2:00 PM CST
Parents of 2 Toddlers Both Battling Cancer
Ben, Hazel, Maeve, and Shelby Offrink   (Courtesy of Offrink family)

Shortly after delivering her second daughter prematurely, Shelby Offrink got a devastating diagnosis—stage IV glioblastoma, a rare and incurable spinal cancer. Then, just a few months later, the engineer's stay-at-home husband Ben learned his Hodgkin's lymphoma had returned for the third time. "It's just shocking, you know?" Shelby's younger brother tells WZZM13. "At first it just seemed like a terrible dream." The young Michigan parents, who are going through chemo and radiation treatments together, are doing what they can to simultaneously parent their 3-year-old, Maeve, and 1-year-old, Hazel.

Ben will likely require a bone marrow transplant, but won't be able to undergo the procedure until his cancer is in remission, and his first round of chemo was unsuccessful, reports Fox 6. Meanwhile, doctors are doing what they can to at least slow the progression of Shelby's cancer, which has spread to her brain, though she was well enough to go home on her 31st birthday on Friday, according to the family's YouCaring fundraising site. More than $100,000 has so far been raised for the couple, and friends and extended family in their hometown of Lowell, Mich., organized a "Hoops for Hope" basketball fundraiser and have started a meal sharing service for the family. (This Indiana woman fought the state to recognize her same-sex marriage before she died of ovarian cancer.)

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