NZ Best Christmas Gifts Ever: Cancer Mum Gives Birth; Doctors Remove Boy's Big Brain Tumour

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By Reissa Su | December 24, 2013 2:51 PM EST

New Zealander Jennifer Doolabh, who chose to stop her cancer treatment after finding out she was pregnant, gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. The new mum named her son Matthias (meaning "God's gift" in Hebrew), who was born with a weight of 2.27 kilogrammes.

Her Facebook page "My Name is Jennifer and I Have Cancer" showed a post of the proud new mum from Hamilton. She said her son was doing well.

The birth is also a reminder to the Doolabh family that this might be the first and last Christmas that the new mum will get to spend with her son.

In June 2012, Ms Doolabh was diagnosed with breast cancer and struggled with chemotherapy and radiation for a year. When she and her husband was preparing for her radiation treatment and hormone therapy in June 2013, her doctor told her she was pregnant.

She told TVNZ that she shocked when she heard the news. She and her husband thought she was never going to have a baby and was already preparing to suppress her ovaries. Ms Doolabh chose to stop receiving cancer treatment to increase her baby's chances of survival.

This Christmas, the family will spend time together in the hospital. They have been struggling financially and emotionally with only enough money to pay for bills.

She had made farewell videos as part of her preparations. She said it was hard for her to say goodbye especially to her remaining children. She has a son, 10, and a daughter, 5, who thinks death is only temporary.

Boy now tumour-free

The Stainer family is celebrating the successful removal of a large tumour from the brain of 10-year-old Sam Stainer. The boy is recuperating in Dunedin Hospital and is excited to go home and be with family and friends on Christmas.

The brain surgery lasted for seven hours in Christchurch Hospital as surgeons worked to remove the tumour the size of an orange growing in the cerebellum - the part of the brain responsible for the body's motor functions.

While the surgery went on, the family had feared for the boy's future. The Stainers told NZ Herald that they had expected to remain in Christchurch Hospital for treatment throughout the holidays.

Doctors said the tumour was benign and sent the patient back to Dunedin for observation and rehabilitation. The family said it was the best Christmas gift ever. 

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