Jared Noel and wife Hannah, with daughter Elise Alexandra
Grace Noel, at their home in Te Atatu yesterday. Photo by
The New Zealand Herald.
A doctor dying of cancer, whose only wish was to live to
meet his baby daughter, has been able to help deliver her and
cut the cord after the birth.
Elise Alexandra Grace Noel was born on January 17, weighing
Her father Jared Noel (33), a physician at Auckland City
Hospital, was able to survive until her birth only after an
outpouring of generosity enabled him to buy an expensive drug
that slowed the growth of his cancer.
It meant he could not only meet his daughter but help deliver
her, at the invitation of his wife Hannah's obstetrician.
''I handed her to Hannah, cut the cord and then I got to have
time with her,'' he said.
''It's a surreal experience. It's weird just looking at her
and thinking `that's my daughter'.
''There's so many mixed emotions.
''There's the joy of having a child against the backdrop of
everything else that's going on.
''It's just sinking in, how blessed we are to be where we are
given our circumstance.''
Jared was told it was unlikely he would live to see 2014
after a scan last October revealed the bowel cancer he had
battled for five years had spread and was growing rampantly
in his liver.
The prognosis came as a particularly cruel blow, as Elise was
due in late January.
The couple appealed on the fundraising website Givealittle
for donations to help them pay for the drug Avastin, which
can slow the growth of cancerous tumours, in the hope it
would extend Jared's life long enough for him to meet his
Their $60,000 target was met within six hours - a record for
the fundraising site.
The influx of donations allowed Jared to immediately begin a
10-round course of Avastin.
A scan taken after four rounds revealed the lesions in his
liver had either stopped growing or significantly reduced in
Hannah (nee Ross), a doctor in paediatrics at Waitakere
Hospital who grew up in Dunedin, said she was ''over the
moon'' at being able to watch her husband with Elise.
It would not have been possible without the support of
family, friends and strangers around the world, she said.
''I knew he was going to be a great dad and he is. And this
is a really precious time.''
Elise was conceived through IVF early last year, when Jared's
cancer, while still thought to be terminal, was not growing.
Hannah said her focus now was on enjoying the time they had
together as a family.
''We're very realistic that that might not be much time.
''We're very hopeful we'll get months. Years would be better,
but we'll see.
''In my mind, we're a family unit so we're all together in
this,'' Hannah said.
She had rallied friends and family to support her and help
care for Elise after Jared's death.
''I don't think you can ever really prepare yourself for that
''Having said that, I've been trying to do that for the past
five years and he's still here and now we've got a baby.
''So I think I really need to enjoy this time that we have,
the three of us, and not focus on the time that Jared's not
The couple visited Dunedin late last month for the wedding of
Hannah's brother, James.
On Wednesday, Jared will begin his 80th round of chemotherapy
and his sixth of Avastin.
His greatest hope is to survive long enough for Elise to have
a memory of him. However, he knows the odds are against him.
He is writing a memoir and participating in a documentary
with the aim of leaving a legacy for his daughter.
''It's difficult to be a parent, like right now, looking
after her and knowing she won't have any recollection of me.
Apart from the stories that are told and anything that's left
behind that she won't have any physical recollection of me.
''I guess that's just how it is.
''That's probably the hard thing for me. That she won't
really know me. But hopefully, she can know of me.''
- The New Zealand Herald