After Rhiannon Lindley was diagnosed with leukemia in January of 2018, mamas all over the U.S. offered breast milk donations for her infant daughter.
Her diagnosis was B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and at the time, she was given three to four months to live.
Lindley has four young children and is also the guardian for her 32-year-old developmentally disabled brother. Her youngest daughter, Adelaide, was only 4 months and 3 days old on the day Lindley was diagnosed.
Lindley soon discovered that the chemo treatments she’d have to go through would put an end to her ability to breastfeed.
“Breastfeeding, to me, is about so much more than just a way to feed a child. It is a connection I’ve shared with all of my children and having that ripped away so suddenly was devastating,” she told Motherly.
So Lindley put out a call on social media for breastmilk donations.
And the offers came flooding in.
She ended up receiving thousands of ounces, from women she knew and from complete strangers.
One mother in particular reached out with a heartbreaking story of her own. Stephanie Payne had lost her son, Ellison, in February of 2018. But in the midst of her own grief, she wanted to be able to use her breastmilk to help other mothers and keep his legacy alive.
Not only did Payne donate some of her breast milk to Lindley, but she actually breastfed little Adelaide herself, something that was healing for both of the women.
“Dealing with a loss like this is extremely hard, but donating his milk was such a rewarding experience for me,” Payne told Motherly. “It was extremely healing and I truly hope that other mamas can have that same feeling through milk donation.”
Throughout 2018, Lindley was hospitalized numerous times, and underwent several intense rounds of chemotherapy. She’s also survived multiple infections that could have been fatal.
In the middle of November, Lindley was told the fantastic news that her cancer was in remission! She will have to continue with chemo treatments for the rest of her life in order to keep the cancer at bay.
In early January of 2019, Lindley put out another post on Facebook asking for donations, and got an overwhelming response.
Later that month, however, almost exactly a year after her leukemia diagnosis, Lindley received awful news: she had cervical cancer. An outpatient procedure in early March should be enough to remove the cancerous tissue, but it has left the Lindleys with even more medical bills.
At the time of her diagnosis, she was the sole provider for her family. Though her husband was able to return to work, they struggled financially, and so, like many people with mounting medical bills who are struggling, they’ve set up a GoFundMe to help them stay afloat.
We wish the best for Lindley and her family. You’ve got this!
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.