Fort Wayne mother diagnosed with brain tumor thankful for donations

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A Fort Wayne family pregnant with their second child found out their mother had a large brain tumor. Months after successful surgeries, celebrities heard about their story and offered to help out.

Rachel Hardesty, of Fort Wayne, began losing energy and body functioning while she was about 7 months pregnant with her and her husband’s second child. Tests soon revealed she had a large brain tumor.

“Everyday I’m alive, is a gift. So it’s like, I could choose to complain and be miserable. But it’s like why would I want I want to live everyday that I have here in that sort of way,” says Rachel.

Within three days, Rachel had a C-section for baby girl, Blair, and then brain surgery to remove the tumor. Blair remained at the NICU for two months, while Rachel continued radiation and chemotherapy.

Now, Rachel, Jeff, big brother Louis, and Blair are home together.

“Feels like a miracle for all four of us to be home, and together under one roof. It’s great. It fills my heart with unbelievable joy,” says Rachel.

Seven years ago, Rachel was diagnosed with brain cancer the first time. Due that type of cancer, doctor’s advised Rachel and Jeff not to have biological children.

“I don’t want to be 60 years old, 50 years old and look back and say, “What if? What if we would have just tried and had children?” And we did. We got Louis. And I will forever be grateful for that, that I overcame that fear and had the faith that God would bring me through, and He did,” says Rachel.

Jeff Hardesty’s sister, Laura, started a GoFundMe to help with mounting medical bills as their newborn remained in the NICU, helping to spread the word around the internet.

That’s when Kristen Bell and husband Dax Shepard heard about the family. The celebrity couple founded a plant-based baby product line, Hello Bello, and offered a year of free baby supplies announced via Instagram.

Bell wished the family well, saying “…we hope you’re all home together soon, healthy and thriving!!”

Rachel and Jeff were the winner of WMEE’s Andy & Nichole Christmas Break In.

The couple expresses their deepest thanks to everyone in the community that has supported them.

The family’s GoFundMe has raised nearly $50,000 of their $300K goal.


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