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Tampa mom forgoes cancer treatment to save baby

Posted: 5:48 PM, Dec 16, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-16 18:11:14-05
There's nothing quite like a mother's love.
 
One Tampa mom has shown that incredible love for her baby boy by risking her own life in hopes of saving his.
 
The family has a long road ahead, but they're not giving up hope.
 
Danielle Sharkey calls baby Jose "Raphael" her little miracle.
 
"I am very blessed to be able to have him," Sharkey said.
 
After having four children, Danielle and husband, Jose, longed to have another little boy, but a cancer diagnosis 18 months ago made another pregnancy a long shot. While Danielle was in remission, the couple got quite a surprise.
 
Not only were they expecting – it was twins.
 
"I was ecstatic. I was the most happy person in the world," Sharkey said.
 
But early on in the pregnancy, there was trouble. One of the twins died in the womb while only 12 weeks along. The other baby faced an uphill battle because Danielle's cancer was back:  A rare, incurable form of leukemia and cervical cancer.
 
"It was very hurtful. I was crying and was very sad about it," Sharkey said.
 
Instead of undergoing cancer treatments, Danielle continued to carry baby Raphael as long as she could. He was born seven-weeks premature, weighing just more than four pounds.
 
"Everybody had said, 'Danielle, why don't you think about your health?  I know you wouldn't want to...' And I said it's not's going to happen whatever you're about to say, just stop before you lose me because it's not happening. This is my baby, and I'm going to have him," Sharkey said.
 
Baby Raphael just came home from the hospital right in time for Christmas, but still has to be connected to a heart and sleep apnea monitor.  And Danielle is not out of the woods yet either. She's now undergoing chemotherapy and her future is uncertain. But she's still keeping a smile, and hopes her story will remind every family to count their blessings every day, especially this holiday season.
 
"Always, always have faith that everything's going to be just fine, even when you feel like everything's down low, you always find a reason to look up and say, 'I can do it. I'm going to be  fine,'" Sharkey said.
 
The family has set up a Go Fund Me page  to help with medical expenses.