A birthday party for her 1-year-old daughter proved to be the thread keeping a doting mother alive.
TODAY Parents reports cancer-ridden Athena Krueger left the hospital in order to plan an elaborate “Alice in Wonderland”-themed party for her daughter, Amari. Krueger, 33, was fighting the final stages of the disease, and just days after her daughter's party, she died.
It seems fitting Amari and her mother's lives were closely aligned -- it's been that way since the beginning.
According to media, the Oak Grove, Minnesota mother found out about her cancer and her pregnancy at the same time.
As the cancer grew, Krueger carried her first and only child. She began chemotherapy at 15 weeks, and at 32 weeks, she delivered her daughter via Caesarean section.
After Amari's birth, Krueger's cancer began to spread.
As her health turned for the worse, she and her husband, Ben, started planning Amari's birthday party.
Although doctors protested Krueger's plan to leave the hospital and return home for the party, the doting mother wouldn't hear of it.
On May 2, family and friends gathered for the party.
There was a Mad Hatter costume, decorations and a very special birthday cake for Amari.
Krueger and her family celebrated Amari's real birthday on May 5.
And just one day later, Krueger died.
Ben told TODAY Parents the 300-person party was a testament to the woman he loved, saying, “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.”
"I don't want her to ever forget who she is or where she came from -- it's pretty amazing."
And Amari, whose name reportedly means "precious miracle from God,” certainly seems to be nothing short of that.
Citations: Fighting death, mom gives her daughter one last, beautiful gift (TODAY Parents)