An Auckland woman, whose partner left her when she fell pregnant, has revealed how she's going to "kick cancer in the butt" after she was diagnosed with the illness four months into her pregnancy.
Six months ago Devonport resident Charlotte received the wonderful news she was going to have a baby boy.
But her world soon flipped on its head when the baby's father walked out, leaving her an expecting solo mother at the same time she was being forced out of her accommodation in Auckland central.
With the 35-year-old needing a new home, money to put food on the table and preparing for a newborn, she soon moved to Devonport, where she took on two jobs in order to survive.
Charlotte's life-changing news
Despite enjoying the change of scenery and jobs, Charlotte soon discovered a strange lump on her body and decided to get it checked out.
Four months into her pregnancy she received the devastating new she had life-threatening aggressive cancer.
With a baby on the way and cancer spreading at a rapid rate, Charlotte was put on specialised treatment to slow its growth while protecting her baby boy from any health risks.
While the cost of treatment is rapidly mounting and her cancer spreading, the French-born Kiwi resident credits her "little miracle child" Luka as the driving force behind her will to fight every day.
"Sometimes I wondered if it is all worth it. But I want to be the best mother for Luka," Charlotte told the Herald in an exclusive interview.
"I talk to him every day and tell him how much he's loved. I tell him my troubles but remind him how much he makes me smile even when I'm exhausted from going between two jobs and hospital visits every week.
"When I found out I was pregnant I was filled with so much joy, but when I found out about the cancer I thought why is someone wanting to punish me? What have I done to deserve this?'
"I know I have friends who support me but I feel really alone. No one really understands quite what I'm going through. It's a lonely place not having anyone.
"I'm going to kick cancer in the butt so I can be the best mother for little Luka. I'm never giving up."
Declining health and financial fears
Charlotte remains determined, but she is now battling the reality of keeping her baby boy healthy as well as fighting to stay alive to raise him.
The bubbly coffee shop worker and nanny's medical bills are spiralling with every treatment, and her body is weakening to the extent where she is fainting at work.
With the physical and mental demands of working two jobs sapping her energy, Charlotte needs rest to recover from treatment and strengthen her immune system.
Unfortunately for the 35-year-old, reducing her workload isn't possible if she wants to stay afloat financially.
"I'm desperate to rest and recover from my treatment but I can't afford to slow down. If I'm not working at the cafe I'm nannying. When I'm not at work I'm at the hospital and the cycle continues.
"I'm worried about making enough money so I can pay my bills and pay for my next dose of treatment. At hundreds of dollars per treatment session, I'm working just so I can fund the next dose. If I don't work I can't pay to slow the cancer down and can't pay my bills.
"But if I don't slow down I'll burn out. I'm running on empty from the moment I wake up and running on the fear of not being here for my son to get me through the day. I need to beat this for my son and for me. I've learned to love myself after years of not believing I'm loved. I already love my son more than anything."
Community rallies around Charlotte
Word soon spread around Devonport of Charlotte's situation after friends and locals set up a Give A Little page and asked the community to pay what they can.
Within minutes locals offered their help, with donations and bags of clothes and toys coming Charlotte's way.
More than 10 bags of baby clothes ranging from age 0 to 3 years have arrived at the 35-year-old's door, along with four bags of toys, bottles, nappies, baby rocking chair and a wealth of homemade meals.
Local business owners and workers have also offered their services to the expectant mum, including professional pregnancy photography, pregnancy massage and pregnancy yoga.
When asked about the impact the community has had on French-born Devonport local, she smiled and said she's forever grateful at how incredible and generous her neighbourhood has been.
"I don't know how I can thank everyone enough. I sit here and think I don't deserve all of this help. Someone out there is in a worse situation than me and must need it more.
"I feel so lucky to be able to give baby Luka the adorable and trendy clothes everyone has donated and be able to give him a happy start to his life.
"I've received more than 10 bags of baby clothes and items. I definitely don't need any more items, now I just need to continue working so I can pay my bills and afford treatment.
"Everyone has been incredible."
So far just more than $5500 has been raised on the Give A Little page, which will only go some way to covering Charlotte's medical bills.
With so many baby clothes and donations made for baby Luka, Charlotte says she's going to regift the spare items to a women's charity for anyone who is struggling with the arrival of their baby.
With Charlotte's health up in the air, she is currently receiving treatment in an attempt to slow the cancer down in time to give birth to baby Luka.
Medical experts are planning on Charlotte giving birth before her May due date so they can start chemotherapy early enough to give the 35-year-old the best chance of survival while keeping her baby healthy.
Charlotte now faces the reality of raising a baby boy on her own while receiving and recovering from chemotherapy.
The Devonport local's hardest battle is still ahead of her, but every day she gets through is one moment closer to meeting her baby boy.
"It's scary to think there's a chance I won't be here for Luka.
"Every day I battle is a step closer to kissing my baby boy on his cheeks.
"Even though I'm sick, nothing can stop me loving and raising Luka, not even cancer."