For Elizabeth Joice and her husband, Max, having a natural pregnancy was not on the cards. When Joice fell pregnant last year, the couple saw it as nothing less than a miracle. For this miracle Joice was willing to give up everything, including her own life.

Elizabeth Joice was told by a fertility specialist that she would never become pregnant. The intense courses of chemotherapy that she had undergone to combat her cancer had left her sterile. When the couple fell pregnant in 2013, their happiness was immeasurable. “It very much felt like a miracle, bringing a child into this world — I mean, it wasn’t just important for me; it was one of the most important things for Liz,” Max Joice, Elizabeth’s husband recanted to CNN.

Sadly the couple’s joy was short-lived when Joice’s cancer returned a mere one month into her pregnancy. Some tumors were removed, but having a full body scan to find out where else the cancer had spread would kill the unborn child. It was then that the expectant mother faced a difficult choice: terminate the pregnancy in order to potentially save her own life or continue the pregnancy and face the consequences. “We felt that if we terminated this pregnancy and did these scans and it turned out that there was no evidence of disease after the scan then we would have possibly given up our only chance at having a child naturally and would have done it for nothing,” Joice’s widower explained to CNN.

By the third trimester, Joice’s difficulty breathing made it clear that the cancer had returned and had spread to her lungs. In order to safely treat Joice for her cancer, an emergency C-section was performed six weeks early. On Jan. 23, 2014, Lily Anne Joice was born. After the birth of her daughter, doctors also found cancer in Joice’s pelvis, abdomen, and heart. She passed away six weeks later, only a few weeks before her 37th birthday. Her story will be remembered as one which truly reflects the love a mother has for her child.