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Mom with Breast Cancer Gets to Keep Kids Pending Final Ruling

Mom with Breast Cancer Gets to Keep Kids Pending Final Ruling

Breast Cancer in the News
A mother with metastatic breast cancer won the right to keep her children, at least temporarily.

Last month, we heard the shocking story about the North Carolina mother with stage 4 breast cancer who was ordered to hand her children over to her ex-husband, who lives in Chicago. Breast cancer was used as a main reason to deny the mother primary custody. (Mom Loses Custody of Kids for Having Breast Cancer)

Now Time reports that Alaina Giordano has won a temporary reprieve and will not be forced to give up custody of her two children, ages 6 and 11, to her ex-husband. Time also reports that her condition is stable and she is actively involved in her children’s lives:

“Court documents describe her as energetic and involved in her children’s day-to-day lives — carting them to soccer practice and on overnight camping trips — and her legal team submitted to the court statements from a network of friends who are ready to offer support should she need it.

Giordano’s cancer is stable and may remain that way indefinitely, according to court documents that cited Dr. Janet Horton, an oncologist at Duke University Medical Center where Giordano is being treated. “There is no reason to believe that Ms. Giordano could not be one of those patients” whose cancer doesn’t progress further, Horton said.”

The judge’s ruling last month was particularly troubling because breast cancer was used as a main reason to deny primary custody. ABC news quoted the judge as saying, “the course of her disease is unknown” and “children who have a parent with cancer need more contact with the non-ill parent.”

Despite the reprieve, the battle is not yet over. A final ruling may take months.

Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Series
#1 The Lump in my Breast: Meeting the Enemy
#2 Most Breast Lumps are Non-Cancerous: Would mine be?
#3 The Mammogram, the Ultrasound, and ‘the Look’
#4 The Biopsy and Breast Cancer Confirmation
#5 A New Twist: It’s Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
#6 Before the Mastectomy: Planning for the Future
#7 Mastectomy Day: What it’s like to lose a breast
#8 After the Mastectomy: Unveiling and Staging
#9 10 Odd Things to Say to Someone with Breast Cancer
#10 Cancer Battle Plan Phase 2: Chemotherapy
#11 5 Things I Love About my Very Expensive Health Insurance
#12 10 Simple Gestures of Kindness with Healing Power
#13 Half a Year on Chemotherapy and Taking Nothing for Granted
#14 Breast Cancer Treatment: Weighing Reward and Risk
Access all posts in the Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Series

Take Action! Sign the petition: We can end breast cancer by 2020

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41 comments

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10:38AM PDT on Aug 15, 2011

great news

7:32PM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

I wondered about this case since I read about it. Wish the decision were permanent, but at least it has gotten the recognition it deserves, and a temporary reprieve.

12:17AM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

A parent must be a terrible person for being diagnosed with cancer... Gee. Why not just arrest her for it? That's cruel to the children also, to tell them, yeah, sure, your mother is dying, but, you're not allowed to be with her. That's government abuse on the children.

9:21AM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

I guess from a pragmatic perspective I can see the custody issue but I have to say this is a case of taking pragmatism to the point of apathy. What a wonderful thing to teach these children and what more poignant way than to show them than , your mother is broken there for we should just abandon her and leave her to die alone. Seriously why bother to care about any human suffering at all if even mom is subject to be labeled as human garbage.

I can see making agreements in the case of convalescence for care of the children if needed or even a more streamlined custody change in the event of her death but this is just callous. It also makes me wonder if there was an issue with the father with regards to previous custody. Is there something wrong with him that he has to use this to pursue custody?


3:21AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

How terribly sad that the other parent chose to pursue primary custody when she was fighting such a dreadful disease, but I can see both sides of this and the man focus needs to be on the children.

IF the Mother can't provide for day to day needs because of having to focus on her own health, then that's one thing, indeed, but seems the father should step up to the plate and be supportive, and not cause even more trauma.

I do hope she survives and this turns out well for everyone involved.

7:05AM PDT on Jun 18, 2011

Taking children from parents because of cancer is opening the flood gates to disaster and there will be no turning back. I cannot believe that such a thing could happen considering that according to the national cancer institute 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will get cancer in their life times.
Because of our toxic processed, GMO food and toxic laden chemicals in our environment, it does not take a genius to figure out that these numbers are sure to increase. Look around us, the young and adults are suffering from diabetes and obesity. Developing obesity weakens your system to developed other diseases, especially cancer.
If children are taken away from one of their parents because of cancer, we will have children all across America living in a one parent house hold. Will it stop at cancer? maybe having some sort of disease will be a reason for one parent to take a child from another parent. Look at what happened in Detroit. A woman child was taken away from her because she refused to give any more psychiatric drugs to her child.
We basically have some morons running our political and justice system in America that is allowing this madness to happen.

4:07AM PDT on Jun 18, 2011

During two and one-half years of my childhood--when I was 9, 10 and 11--I experienced the illness and death of my mother from cancer. As someone who has been there, I find it sadly misguided that anyone might consider taking a child from a dying parent with whom she has a healthy, loving relationship. I cherish the time I had with my mother, from her healthy years to the last few weeks when she was fading away in a hospital bed, as my book for other children in this situation--I Remember Mommy's Smile (www.MommysSmile.com)--makes clear. Had my mother and I been separated, I'd have been robbed of precious moments and the quality of my mother's last days would be have been diminished. Perhaps the professionals considering the Giordano's case should speak to those of us who have been there.

3:35AM PDT on Jun 18, 2011

We win again!!!

Alone we can do almost nothing.

Together we are changing the world.

Isn't that what we all want to do, make a difference?

9:33PM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

Great news!

7:57PM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

Has that judge been de-robed, yet? De-benched? Run out of town?

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