Courageous cancer patient, 32, who lived for her baby with Down syndrome passes away on Mother’s Day
Rogers of Ladue, Mo., was thought to be infertile when she became pregnant with son Tristan. The family celebrated the boy’s first birthday in March.
Jorie Rogers just wanted to live long enough to celebrate her son’s first birthday.
She got her wish, but the mother who wasn’t supposed to be a mother, the mother who wanted only the best for her miracle baby with Down syndrome, lost her battle with cancer on Sunday, her second and final Mother’s Day.
"It's very special because not only are we celebrating my son's first year and everything that he had to go through to get here, but it's the one birthday that I'll get with him," Rogers said in March when she held a carnival-themed party for her son, Tristan. "And we get to celebrate the one year that we had together."
She had stopped treatment in March after doctors told the Ladue, Mo., mother that her paraganglioma, a rare form of cancer that caused dozens of tumors in her body, had advanced to a point of no return.
“They’ve given me one to two weeks left,” Rogers wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday. “I guess if anyone wants to drop by for a visit sometime now would be the time to do it. I also realize that death is just too (scary) for some people to face in person and if that’s you, that’s ok too.”
Rogers’ story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming — a life lived to the fullest but one also cut short.
The 32-year-old’s radiation treatments were supposed to leave her infertile. But after marrying her high school sweetheart, George Rogers, Jorie found out that she was pregnant. After their baby was born, the couple learned that Tristan had Down syndrome.
Plagued by medical bills, the Rogers called upon Illinois-based nonprofit 3 Little Birds 4 Life, an organization that grants people with cancer a wish. Jorie’s was for little Tristan to have a first birthday to remember, a carnival with popcorn machines, snow cones, clowns, jugglers and a bounce house.
Her wish — and Tristan’s — came true, and during a stretch of dreary late March weather, the skies cleared for the big day, leaving the 70 guests basking without jackets in the Midwestern sunshine.
"I want him to be able to look back on videos and pictures from today and hear the stories about today and for him to know how much his mom loved him,” Jorie then told KSDK-TV. “And for him to know how hard his mom fought to be here for him."
Less than two months later, cancer claimed Jorie’s life. On Mother’s Day, no less.
Ashley Swip, 3 Little Birds 4 Life’s president and founder, said Jorie had been suffering the last few weeks. Jorie’s husband, George, called Swip on Sunday morning and broke her the news.
“Jorie was really special, and today’s been really bittersweet,” Swip said. “I’m so glad we were able to meet her and her family. And we will continue to help the family in any way possible.”
Jorie was a member of a cancer support group on Facebook. The group’s leader, Tisa Perra, remembered Jorie on Sunday.
“Today, the world lost a valiant and courageous Pheo Trooper,” Perra wrote. “Jorie Wilson Rogers, was a loving mom, wife, sister, daughter and friend. She fiercely loved her son Tristan like a lioness. Her fighting spirit was an inspiration to many. She lived her life fully despite disease and suffering. May she rest in peace. May she be free from suffering.” firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter
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