W. MI community unites around terminally ill pregnant mom

Carrie DeKlyen
An undated courtesy photo of Carrie DeKlyen and her family.


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The community is coming together around the family of a Wyoming mother of five, faced with a life-and-death decision.

In April, Carrie DeKlyen was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme.

Two weeks later, she and her husband Nick learned their sixth child, a girl, was on the way.

“We’re just a normal family,” said Carrie’s sister-in-law, Sonya Nelson, while cradling Carrie’s 2-year-old son in her lap Wednesday. “We’re living our lives, you know, children, working. And you feel like your world just crumbles before your eyes.”

Surgeons have twice removed the tumor from Carrie’s brain. But both times, the cancer returned. Doctors at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor said Carrie could enroll in a clinical trial, but she would have to terminate her pregnancy.

“This trial, they said, would have prolonged her life, medically speaking, even longer,” explained Nelson. But they choose to continue with the pregnancy. So this is where we are at today.”

The baby is healthy, according to the family. A Facebook page is chronicling their journey.

Glioblastoma multiforme patients have about a 15-month life expectancy. Carrie’s family has hope, no matter the outcome.

“We are a family of faith,” said Nelson. “And so we are just believing that God’s plan for Carrie is to be healed. And if he chooses to heal her here or in heaven, we will still trust in him. “

Wednesday, Carrie remained in a semi-conscious state at U of M after suffering a stroke.

The goal now is to keep her alive for the next eight weeks. She will be 28 weeks into her pregnancy then, and the baby can be delivered.

Her family has one wish when that time comes.

“We want her to wake up,” said Nelson.

“We would love for her to be able to see this gift that she gave. She gave this child the gift of life,” she added.

As Nick DeKlyen remains at his wife’s side, their extended family and fellow worshippers at Resurrection Life Church are helping with the couple’s other children, ranging in age from 2 to 18 years old.

“We have an amazing family. I don’t know how families that do not have the support that we have get through a trial like this,” said Nelson.

Nick hasn’t been able to work, creating a financial strain for their family, but you can help. The Buffalo Wild Wings on 44th Street will donate 20 percent of sales Wednesday to the DeKlyen family. Patrons must show the certificate available on the Cure4Carrie Facebook page for the donation.

Donations are also being accepted on a GoFundMe page set up for Carrie.