“I’m not giving up. I won’t,” 30-year-old mother Tasha Kann recently said in a news interview. As a young and intelligent woman from Northern Michigan who worked as a registered nurse and gave birth to two children named Deklan (two years old) and Gracey (eight months old), she is the last person one would expect to have a terminal brain tumor.
Just over a year ago, on June 6, 2022, Tasha was diagnosed with a brain tumor called Anaplastic Astrosytoma Grade lll, a rare and malignant form of cancer that accounts for only 1-2% of all primary brain tumors. At this time, Tasha was approximately 20 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby girl.
Doctors informed Tasha that her best chance of survival and more time was to abort the child and immediately begin chemotherapy and radiation. However, Tasha didn’t want to end her baby’s life, even if it meant her own life would come to an end sooner.
“I didn’t know what really to think. I guess in my mind, brain cancer, I thought I would die. To be honest, I thought I would anyways. So I thought I would just keep my baby alive,” said Tasha.
Chemotherapy can cause birth defects and miscarriage if administered in the first three months of pregnancy while the fetus’ organs are still growing. In the later stages, chemotherapy drugs have less risks to the unborn baby, but they can still cause side effects such as low blood counts and an increased risk of infection. According to Melissa Suran, “Some chemotherapies aren’t considered especially dangerous to a fetus, but typically only after the 14-week mark. Even then, early delivery and low birth weight are possibilities…” However, Tasha believed that there was a safer route, not only herself, but for her baby as well.
According to Tasha’s GoFundMe, “After much research and many prayers, Tasha decided her best outcome from this disease would be to continue her pregnancy and fight it as naturally as possible, refusing chemo and radiation.” Tasha and her husband Taylor researched natural remedies and treatments. They changed their diets, bought natural products, replaced makeup, soaps, dishes – anything that had chemicals which could be potentially harmful.
Tasha gave birth to Gracey Joyce Kann in October of 2022. She was as healthy and cute as could be, and the Kann family fell in love with her. Doctors told Tasha that chemotherapy and radiation were still options after she gave birth, but Tasha knew that such treatments could do more harm than good, and she decided to remain steadfast in her decision to use natural remedies. However, just a few weeks ago, Tasha received a call from her oncologist, a call that held tragic news.
In reality, Tasha’s cancer had been growing from her central nervous system and is diffused into three lobes of her brain. It is now considered to be a Gliomatosis Cerebri, which is highly aggressive and very resistant to treatment. Surgery is not an option, and the prognosis lessened from years to months for Tasha. The prognosis was 12 months, and it has already been approximately 13 months since her diagnosis at the time of this publication.
“She’s already beat the prognosis time. It was June 6 of ‘22, and we’ve passed that. And, you know, every day past that is her proving somebody wrong,” Taylor explained.
Tasha also said, “They’re actually surprised to see that I’m walking and talking and living a normal life. My prognosis isn’t good, so they don’t even want to try. I’m not giving up. I won’t.”
After this news, the doctors also informed the Kann family that radiation is never an option for this form of cancer, and that it actually could have resulted in a quicker death. As the GoFundMe explains, “For the Kann family, this goes to show the Lord hears us! All of us. Tasha, refusing their treatment, inevitability saved her life. Jesus has carried her this far and I know he isn’t done yet.”
Tasha has now turned to an unorthodox Texas clinic, called the Burzynski Clinic, in order to seek alternative treatment that holds promise. However, this treatment costs thousands of dollars per month and is not covered by insurance. The Kanns are hoping to raise enough money for a year of using this treatment, which would cost $200,000.
Thankfully, Tasha’s small town community has given her support, both financial and emotional. The GoFundMe, at the time of this publication, has raised approximately $40,000 so far. Fundraisers have also been held across the community, and many prayers have been offered for her.
Tasha Kann’s story shows how abortion does not have to be a necessary choice for women. Instead, Tasha chose to research her options and decided to save her baby, who is now eight months old. By doing so, she protected herself from treatment that could have resulted in her death, and she protected her baby from abortion. Her community and family has always been and always will be there to support her. And she is not giving up.
Women in poverty, women with cancer, women with pregnancy complications — there is always a life-affirming choice you can make, and there is always a community somewhere that will support you. Choose life. Don’t give up, not on your life or your baby’s.