Chiara Corbella Dies After Declining Cancer Treatments in Pregnancy

Chiara Corbella (right) and her husband Enrico Corbella (left) (Image CreditL Meryem-ana.it)

It’s a story that showcases true self-sacrifice and an almost unimaginable, yet admirable, level of love and care for the unborn. Chiara Corbella died earlier this month after postponing her cancer treatments to save the life of her unborn baby.

The incredible, yet tragic story, was reported by Catholic News Agency (CNA) on Thursday. The outlet describes the alleged sacrifices that Corbella made for her child — sacrifices that inevitably led to her death:

At 28 years of age, Chiara was happily married to Enrico Petrillo. They had already suffered the loss of two children in recent years who died from birth defects. The couple became popular speakers at pro-life events, in which they shared their testimony about the few minutes they were able to spend with their children, David and Maria, before they died.

In 2010, Chiara became pregnant for the third time, and according to doctors the child was developing normally. However, Chiara was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and was advised to begin receiving treatment that would have posed a risk to her pregnancy.

Chiara decided to protect the baby – named Francisco –  and opted to forgo treatment until after his birth, which took place on May 30, 2011.

Chiara Corbella Dies After Declining Cancer Treatments in Pregnancy

Image Credit: Catholic News Agency

Corbella inevitably lost her battle with cancer on June 13, 2012. The road was a difficult one. Once her child was born, she lost sight in one eye and began to deteriorate. However, despite her challenges and the bold decision to protect her unborn child, she remained brave.

In a letter that was penned to Francisco one week before she died, she told the child (who is now about 13 months old) that she will be taking care of his brother and sister in heaven.

“I am going to heaven to take care of Maria and David, you stay here with Dad. I will pray for you,” she wrote.

According to CNA, Corbella’s funeral mass was used as an opportunity to discuss her brave sacrifice as well as the overarching example she serves for those who wish to protect life. Her husband, Enrico, said in an interview with Vatican Radio that he personally experienced “a story of love on the cross.”

Below, see a portion of the mass (in Italian):

Here are some highlights from Enrico’s words about his wife and their struggles:

“We grew more and more in love with each other and Jesus. We were never disappointed by this love, and for this reason, we never lost time, even though those around us said, ‘Wait, don’t be in a hurry to have another child.’” [...]

The truth is that this cross – if you embrace it with Christ – ceases to be as ugly as it looks. If you trust in him, you discover that this fire, this cross, does not burn, and that peace can be found in suffering and joy in death.

I spent a lot of time this year reflecting on this phrase from the Gospel that says the Lord gives a cross that is sweet and a burden that is light. When I would look at Chiara when she was about to die, I obviously became very upset. But I mustered the courage and a few hours before – it was about eight in the morning, Chiara died at noon – I asked her.

I said: ‘But Chiara, my love, is this cross really sweet, like the Lord says? She looked at me and she smiled, and in a soft voice she said, ‘Yes, Enrico, it is very sweet.’ In this sense, the entire family didn’t see Chiara die peacefully, but happily, which is totally different.”

When his son is old enough, Enrico will tell him about his mother’s sacrifice. Additionally, he pledges to teach him the importance of letting himself “be loved in order to love and die happy.” The story, which has a tragic ending, certainly serves as an example of prime human sacrifice, as Corbella was willing to give up her life for the sake of her unborn child.

The Blaze has covered other brave women who have made similar decisions. In December, we told you about 17-year-old Jenni Lake who passed away after declining treatment for brain tumors while carrying her child. And in October, we reported on Stacie Crimm, who died in a similar manner.

All are truly excellent examples of individuals willing to set themselves aside for the unborn lives growing inside of them.

(H/T: Catholic News Agency)

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