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Erin Ripplinger's Story

Miracle for Two

I was diagnosed at 23 with stage 4 breast cancer. Little did I know that I would not only be fighting for my life but the life of a baby, one I didn't even know I was pregnant with until I was six months along!

The doctors were shocked at my young age. I had the doctors run a pregnancy test before I went ahead with reconstructive surgery and chemotherapy. It came back negative. So I continued ahead with the major surgery and reconstruction. After the surgery, I had a long healing process. I was on my fifth dose of chemo when I realized that I was gaining weight and not having periods. The doctors blamed the chemo and steroids. I then realized I was feeling movement like I was pregnant. We found out I was 24 weeks along! I had been pregnant the whole time and didn't even realize it! Six months along!!

The doctors ran an ultrasound and it showed that there was no amniotic fluid and the baby had no kidneys and bladder. The doctors told us that if the baby didn't have fluid by week 28, its lungs would not develop. I would go in every week for a test, and each week I would hear from them, “No fluid. No change.” By week 28, I was praying as I walked into the hospital. I knew that all of our family and friends had been praying on our behalf and that their faith would work. The doctor was shocked when he told my husband and me that I had normal fluid! He did make sure that we knew his opinion that even then if the baby lived, it would still only survive 30 minutes!

Through many steps and miracles, our beautiful baby was born six weeks early with absolutely no complications. He was in the NICU for only 11 days. My miracle baby is now 12, and I just celebrated my 13th year cancer-free. Miracles do happen! If you are strong and stand by what you believe, they do happen! The strongest tool I found in my cancer battle was the will -- the will to live, the will to love, the will to believe. You either have to choose faith in yourself and push through or fear and allow it to control your situation! I'm so glad that I chose faith!

More Stories of Hope

Every person who walks in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event has a reason for walking - and every person touched by cancer has a story to tell. These stories remind us that the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event is more than a walk. It describes the progress we're making together to save lives and create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. Below are personal stories we hope will inspire you to join us in making strides to end breast cancer!

Click one of the headlines below to read more Stories of Hope:

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Ashley Gidley
My mom the SURVIVOR. About four years ago, the shock of a lifetime presented itself to me and my family...

Erin Ripplinger
Miracle for two. I was diagnosed at 23 with stage 4 breast cancer. Little did I know that I would not only be fighting for my life but the life of a baby...

Gina Cook
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Carla Bailey
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Maria Chambers
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Abby Acuna
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Cheryl Witter
I fought breast cancer and beat it, I am a survivor....

Debra Williams
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Michele Hawkins
I AM a Survivor. I never thought it would be me....

Alyceia Kimbrough
During my mother’s breast cancer journey, I started calling her “The Gladiator” because she is so intent on fighting cancer.....

Wendy Boyette
I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in July, 2012....

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