‘My little Althea healed me in so many ways. She truly is a gift from heaven, and my grandmother is my guardian angel.’
Stephanie Folk, Huntington
“My third daughter, Althea, saved my life. I was diagnosed with bladder cancer while I was pregnant with her, my last child. At 21 weeks pregnant, I underwent a surgery to remove the tumor that was in Stage 2 — which is extremely rare for a woman under 40. The operation was successful, and the cancer was eradicated without any need for chemotherapy. The tumor would have gone undetected if I was not pregnant and would have undoubtedly caused me graver health problems.
“Althea was a miracle baby from the start. Before her, I suffered two miscarries in a row, and I thought a third child would never happen. But shortly after the new year in 2017, we saw a strong heartbeat and a growing baby. My doctors confirmed conception at 12/8 and due date 8/30, which are the same dates as my dear grandmother’s day of passing and her birthday. Of all the dates in a year, these were the ones on my sonograms, and that meant everything to me.
I believe in fate, and I believe in guardian angels and the protection of love that never dies.
“My grandmother passed away when she was 96, and I took care of her in her final years, so I felt like Althea was a gift from her. Then, 35 weeks into my pregnancy, I was induced early because the doctors said that Althea had a potential heart condition that ran the spectrum from a murmur to serious brain damage. Miraculously, Althea was born tiny, but completely healthy and beautiful.
“I always say that I’m an artist first, a mother next, then a wife and a teacher. The arts have always been central to me; my middle daughter, Madelyn, was named after a book, and both Scarlet and Althea are named after Grateful Dead songs.
“I am so thankful for my husband and daughters and my good fortune to still be alive and well. I believe in fate, and I believe in guardian angels and the protection of love that never dies. I am looking forward to watching my girls grow up, exploring more artistic adventures, meeting new people, and growing as a human being with a focus on integrity, creativity and love. My little Althea healed me in so many ways. She truly is a gift from heaven, and my grandmother is my guardian angel.”
Interviewed by Meagan Meehan