Parents heartbroken as toddler dies of cancer just hours before sister is born

Matt Neumann and Amanda Monteiro have been through every parent's worst nightmare. 

On the 9th of April, the said goodbye to their 19-moth-old daughter, Edie. The 19-month-old had been fighting a losing battle with leukaemia, and it was her time to go. 

As her parents held her hands for the last time, her mum Amanda felt a contraction- she was going into labour with her second child. 

“Edie literally told her sister, ‘It’s your time, now go,’” Amanda told TODAY. “The grief is sometimes unbearable. But you look at your new daughter and there is something divine in how it worked out.”

 As well as adjusting to life with newborn Eleanor, the family are now sharing Edie's story, hoping to raise awareness for paediatric cancer. 

“No one should have to watch their child die in a manner like that,” Amanda continued. “The only way to continue Edie’s legacy and memory is to help others.”

In July 2017, the New York family took a trip of a lifetime to Spain and Morocco. A happy child, Edie played in water and “flirted” with strangers. 

Suddenly, she wasn't herself, she began sleeping through the night, acting oddly adn developed a bump on her head that never went away. 

At the same time, Amanda realised that she was pregnant again. 

The worried parents took Edie to A&E twice and twice they were sent home. Edie had a fever and began vomiting violently. 

The little girl's health deteriorated rapidly, she stopped talking, eating and walking. Eventually doctors realised that her platelet count was dangerously. Edie was diagnosed with leukaemia. And the bump on her head was bleeding into her brain. 

“Her blood couldn't clot. She had a  five centimetre mass near her kidney and spleen,” Amanda explained.“She was so sick.”

She started chemotherapy, but her stomach continued to swell and her blood pressure continued to increase. 

“She was really, really sick,” Matt, 35, said. “From October 9 to mid-January, we didn't leave the hospital.”

After a brief ray of hope, Edie went into remission. But her parent's relief was short-lived- she had cancerous lesions on her liver. 

Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, Edie quickly declined. There was nothing more they could do. 

“We had been telling her all week, ‘You can go, honey,’” Amanda said. 

Edie passed away on 6th of April at 8.58 pm. Two hours later, Amanda was in labour.

“I had just lost my baby, and I am in labour,” she said. “In less than 12 hours, we said goodbye to one daughter and said hello to another.” 

As well as readjusting to life with a newborn the family have also been raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

Dr. Gwen Nichols, cheif medical officer at the society said that more funding is definitely needed for cancers like Edie's. 

"That is an area that obviously needs additional research," she said. 

As for Edie's family, she's awed by their strength in this difficult time. 

"[It's] just such a brave and incredible thing they are doing in the midst of their sorrow."

For Matt and Amanda, being advocates in Edie's name is helping to heal the wound just a tiny bit. 

“We feel the need to be part of the cause — whether it is raising money, raising awareness,” Amanda concluded. 

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