About halfway through her third pregnancy, 30-year-old Jessica Herbert learned that she had a rare, incurable form of brain cancer — a 4-inch tumor known as an anaplastic astrocytoma.
The Springville, Utah mother-of-two called the news “devastating and life-altering,” but said after crying, feeling angry and letting the reality of the situation sink in, she decided to drastically change her thought process. Taking on a more positive outlook, Jessica said, both benefits her own health and to makes things easier for her husband, Eric, and her daughters, Harlow, 5, and Harper, 3.
“I had to do it for my kids and husband. I have so much to be grateful for,” Jessica told TODAY Parents. “My goal for the future is to stay as positive as I possibly can and make the most out of my time with my family and loved ones. Our goal as a family is to spend as much quality time together as possible – time is all I can give my loved ones. I want to create as many memories as possible right now, while I’m still feeling well.”
To help the Herbert family maximize their time together, Jessica’s brother and his wife, Jeremiah and Lindsey Johnson, created a You Caring fundraising site, attempting to raise $30,000 to allow the family to travel and make memories together. To date, more than $22,000 has been raised for the family.
“Our wish is for Jessica and her family to enjoy every minute they have together. Jessica would love to travel, to help build a future for her girls, and to create memories with her family that they can cherish forever,” the site reads.
Jessica’s husband, Eric, said they have already taken their daughters to Disneyland, and to a hotel in California to stay on the beach, where he and his wife loved watching their girls play in the water, running from the waves as they came crashing in to shore.
“I do not take anything for granted anymore, each moment is a gift and we have no idea when the gifts are going to stop coming, so we have to cherish each one,” Eric said.
The family is eagerly awaiting the arrival of their next gift — their third daughter, who is scheduled to be born on July 17. Once their daughter is delivered, Jessica says she will get an MRI and begin chemotherapy and radiation in hopes of shrinking the tumor.
“For me, positivity is key. It definitely doesn’t come easily, but in order to help your body heal, a good state of mind is really the best you can do for yourself,” said Jessica. “In the meantime, we want to create wonderful memories with one another. Our wish is to travel together and experience unique adventures while having pictures and video my girls can look back on.”
Eric says as they plan for his wife’s future treatment, enjoy their new daughter and continue making happy memories together as a family, he plans to trust that there is a plan for their family, and continue helping his wife fight back against the tumor.
“Jessica is hands down the strongest woman I that I have ever met. She inspires me daily to be a better person, better father and better husband. Our real hope in all of this is that we can help to inspire people to stay positive and never give up no matter the situation.”