Jacobina Surian Adams was two months pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1962. Doctors advised her that an abortion would improve her chances for a cure, but Adams, a devout Catholic, refused, choosing her child’s life over her own.
Other Catholic women have had to live this difficult situation and make this choice as well. In fact, this Sunday, Pope John Paul II will canonize Italian doctor Gianna Beretta, a mother who chose her unborn baby instead of a cancer treatment. Molla gave birth to her daughter but died of her illness soon after.
Adams’ story turned out differently. She gave birth to her fifth daughter and, after a series of treatments, eventually beat the disease.
Last Thursday, Adams died at age 82. She is survived by her five daughters, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Her decision to have the baby remains a source of pride among her family. Adams’ daughter, Annette, attributes her mother’s decision to her Catholic faith, which she instilled in her children.
Adams’ youngest daughter, Laverne, told the Sun Herald that as they were growing up, the family never missed church and they never went into the car without saying the rosary. Adams is remembered for her faith, kindness and strength.