One day when Ashley Chestnut was breastfeeding her 5-month-old baby she experienced excruciating pain. Not long after she was diagnosed with cancer.
She started treatment immediately; however, due to the chemotherapy, she was unable to continue to breastfeed her child. That’s when Jaclyn Kenney, a nurse on staff at the hospital in Nebraska where Chestnut was receiving treatment, heard about Chestnut’s situation and wanted to help.
Kenney donated nearly eight gallons of breastmilk to Chestnut.
Chestnut, a mother of two, was feeding her youngest child when she felt a sharp pain.
Chestnut described the pain she felt like a “freight train.” It made it almost impossible for her to move, let alone continue breastfeeding her 5-month-old son, Easton.
“It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” Chestnut told Nebraska Medicine, where she ended up being treated. “The pain was so sharp that I couldn’t even lift my 13-pound baby.”
It wasn’t long before she was diagnosed with cancer.
#YourFamilyNow I can't wait to introduce you to three selfless women today on #Upfronat4. A young mom with two kids under two recently diagnosed with cancer, her sister and her NURSE! They are bonded by breast milk and shaved heads. @3NewsNowOmaha pic.twitter.com/r4ItIabqQj
— Jennifer Griswold (@griswoldkmtv) January 19, 2018
After undergoing some tests, Chestnut was diagnosed with primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Almost immediately she started treatment, but that meant she could no longer breastfeed Easton.
“I couldn’t breastfeed anymore,” she told KMTV. “I’d be tired all the time, sick all the time, I felt like his first year was going to be robbed from me.”
Receiving chemotherapy meant she wouldn’t be able to breastfeed her 5-month-old.
This had the potential to be a huge problem for Chestnut. Her son, Easton, suffers from a dairy and soy intolerance, which makes it difficult for him to consume donated breastmilk.
According to KMTV, Kenney, who was a nurse on Chestnut’s floor, heard about the mother-of-two’s situation and realized she could help the mother in need.
“I didn’t really think twice, I had a freezer full of breast milk, and I just went in there and asked if she’d be interested in having it,” Kenney told KMTV.
A nurse on Chestnut’s floor donated 1,000 ounces of breastmilk to Chestnut for her son.
Kenney was also a new mother, who happened to give birth to her baby girl one day before Chestnut had her boy. And her daughter was also lactose intolerant.
The nurse had her breastmilk tested and once the milk was determined to be safe she gladly donated 1,000 ounces to Chestnut.
“It was an answered prayer,” Chestnut shared with Nebraska Medicine.