FRONTLINE "Facing Death" | Excerpt: "Mount Sinai ICU" | PBS
Terminally Ill Dad Leaves ICU So He Can See the Birth of His Child
Just three weeks before his fiancée's due date, Cagney Wenk received some tragic news: He was diagnosed with a highly aggressive, Stage 4 cancer called glioblastoma, which was growing quickly inside his brain. His only symptom? He had been experiencing headaches for several days.
Wenk has undergone multiple procedures since his diagnosis, including a biopsy and craniotomy (a surgery in which a piece of the skull is temporarily removed to help relieve pressure), . He was recovering from a recent brain surgery in the ICU at Boulder Community Hospital in Colorado when his nurses decided they wanted to do something special for him and his expecting fiancée, Jessica Li.
The nurses reached out to an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which provides remembrance photography to parents who have lost their babies. Sarah Boccolucci, a photographer with the organization, volunteered to lend her services to the family—and offered to make a video documenting the birth as well.
Hospital employees brought Wenk up to the delivery room just as Li began her active labor, and there, the couple was able to meet their new son, Levon, together. The experience was an incredibly emotional one for everyone involved, and Boccolucci captured all of that emotion in her footage. The photographer hopes that her video will show viewers the great lengths that hospital employees went to help Wenk and Li have the best birth experience possible, and that it will inspire them to share the couple's powerful story.
"There is a point during the birth where Cagney tells Jessica that they are surrounded by all the love in the world right now," Boccolucci told theHuffington Post.
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