Catholic mom dies 3 years after being declared 'miraculously' cancer free

Jessica Hanna
Jessica Hanna | YouTube/EWTN

A Catholic mother who declined to have an abortion after receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer while pregnant has died after her cancer returned following what was deemed a miraculous healing upon giving birth to her son. 

Jessica Hanna, a Catholic mother who operated the Instagram account "blessed_by_ cancer," died of cancer Saturday.

In an Instagram post published over the weekend, Hanna's husband, Lamar, reported that his wife "peacefully went to her eternal reward" at around 8:02 a.m. Saturday. 

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"On Saturday she was very peaceful and surrounded by her loving family, she breathed her last," he added. "The cancer was just too aggressive. She suffered joyfully, and without fear in her last days. Please keep our family in your prayers."

As the biography on Hanna's Instagram page explains, Hanna is a Catholic "wife & mama" who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 while 14 weeks pregnant. Her cancer returned in 2022. 

Hanna appeared on EWTN's "Pro-Life Weekly" in 2022. The segment began with host Catherine Hadro noting that "doctors suggested having an abortion but she declined." 

"She held onto her faith as doctors later in her pregnancy discovered her tumor to be terminal. Aggressive treatment was then prescribed," Hadro said.

The EWTN host stated that after giving birth, Hanna "appeared to have been miraculously healed" as "her supposed terminal cancer was now curable." Hanna detailed how she had discovered a "dent" on her breast before getting pregnant, but doctors dismissed it as benign. 

Hanna called her son, Thomas Salanus, "the one who actually saved my life." 

"If it wasn't for me getting pregnant, I never would have double-checked it," Hanna said.

When asked to provide advice for mothers facing challenging pregnancies and considering abortion, Hanna declared, "Never, ever go with one opinion." Hanna, a pharmacist, insisted that "I would not take one medical opinion for gold."

Hanna recalled that after discovering she had cancer, she sought advice from between eight and 10 medical professionals.

"I was told to terminate by a couple doctors and it actually was not necessary at all. My prognosis didn't change. My treatment plan did not change, pregnant or not pregnant," she said. 

In her appearance on EWTN, Hanna elaborated on how she used social media as a force for good during a period of immense difficulty in her life.

"When I got diagnosed, I felt God calling me to something. … I thought no suffering should ever go to waste. So instead of kind of just curling up in a ball and crying or waiting to see what would happen and then share with people, I thought I'm going to share immediately."

"I literally made a social media two days after my diagnosis. I didn't know where God was taking me. I didn't know if I would live or die."

She learned she had a "13-centimeter tumor" that was "likely terminal." It appeared that cancer had spread "everywhere," Hanna said, adding that she decided "to keep going with this."

"I don't know where God's taking me," she said, pondering whether she was headed down "the path where I need to show people how to die gracefully with His grace and mercy" or if He was "going to show a miracle."

"I didn't know what it was, but I decided to use social media to show people that no matter what you think is going to happen, it's … trust in God that's the most important," she asserted.

Hanna viewed her social media account as a source of encouragement for other people to "abandon your own desires and wants and ... leave it at the foot of the cross and let Him take care of it."

Hanna used her social media platform to create a "prayer community" that would "pray together before every treatment" and would offer up other people's problems that they communicated to her via direct message as she underwent treatment. Her Instagram account has over 51,000 followers. 

As highlighted in a fundraiser set up on GoFundMe to "support the Hanna Family," Hanna's cancer returned in late 2022, "spreading to many more lymph nodes, bones, and lung." Her death came after "the aggressive cancer quickly spread to her brain."

In addition to her husband and son Thomas, Hanna leaves behind three older children: Christopher, Mary and Joseph. As of Wednesday afternoon, Hanna's fundraiser has raised over $218,000 out of a $200,000 goal. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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