Dying Mom Throws Her Baby A First Birthday Party

When we stop to consider our own individual goals for the year, most of us have the luxury to not have to count "survival" among them. Athena Serbus-Krueger, 33, discovered a lump in her breast while pregnant with her first child, Amari, in 2013. She and her husband, Ben, wanted to play it safe, so the mother with cancer threw her child's first birthday party regardless—knowing it might be the first and last they'd share together.

Athena started chemotherapy after giving birth, but the treatment didn't succeed. Cancer spread to her lung, lymph nodes, and brain. The Minneapolis mother planned the whole Alice In Wonderland-themed tea party celebration while staying under intensive care at hospice. The elaborate jamboree, although doctors advised against it, went down May 2 and attracted about 300 guests of friends and family, who all dressed for the occasion. Ben even dressed as The Mad Hatter and the parents dressed baby Amari in a pair of elegant white gloves and pearls. "At no point until the very end, did she believe she wasn't going to be healed," Ben said. "She felt God's power was the only thing that could heal her. She turned a lot more people to faith."

The Kruegers named their daughter Amari since it means "precious gift from God." She turned one year old May 6. Athena died the next day in her husband's arms.

"I'm hoping that between the pictures of this party and everything, they'll help me teach Amari all about her mom as she grows up," Ben said. "I don't want her to ever forget who she is or where she came from—it's pretty amazing."

Click here to see all the photos from the party.

Image: Studio Romantic/Fotolia