My friend Jeanneane Nicole Maxon inspires me every day.
I first got to know her from afar when we both attended a quarterly meeting of national, pro-life leaders in Washington DC. Maxon was then vice president of external affairs and corporate counsel for Americans United for Life, and she would present the latest developments on the pro-life legislative front. I was always impressed by her gracious, professional bearing as well as her ability to cut through “legalese” and give us a succinct rundown. In 2014, when the Human life Foundation honored her colleague, Clarke Forsythe as a Great Defender of Life, I reached out to Jeanneane for assistance with the guest list, etc—and through phone and Facebook, we became friends.
Not long after that, tragedy struck Jeanneane’s lfe, as she describes in her powerful op-ed for the Washington Times, (June 24, 2021).
In December 2015, doctors discovered a lime-sized tumor in the right frontal lobe of my brain. A few weeks later, pathology confirmed the worst. I was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive cancer, with only a 5.5% chance of survival after five years, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Maxon’s column is not about her—miraculous, I’m convinced—survival; rather, it is a plea for her unborn brothers and sisters. She goes on to point out:
Despite these odds, I remain here today because my life is valued in our culture and protected by our law. This is true, even though statistically there is no chance of my ultimate survival. Throughout my battle with cancer, I’ve been praised as brave, and I’ve been given the best medical treatment available.
While my life is praised and protected, the lives of unborn infants are not protected under the law until “viability,” which is a standard set in 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. To the detriment of thousands of infants who could survive outside the womb, the viability standard has become grossly antiquated.
As Maxon writes, the upcoming Supreme Court case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is an opportunity for the law to catch up to science.
Undoubtedly, this case will prompt debate and discussion and evoke a range of emotions. During these times, we must remember that we are a nation founded on the principle of equality. If we protect people like me with only a 5.5% chance of five-year survival, we mock our founding principles when we fail to protect babies with a greater chance of survival.
Jeanneane has kept her faith through her treatment: chemo, radiation and now a device called the Optune, for which she is a Patient Ambassador. She keeps in touch with her legions of friends via Facebook (she also sends out the first Christmas cards), and always asks us to pray when she is scheduled for an MRI. Each time the results are clear, I let out a cheer and I praise God for the amazing news.
Today, Jeanneane is an Associate Scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute and is back to writing and speaking out on behalf of the unborn. But that’s not all: She founded a Facebook group called Cancer, Courage, and Christ, to which I belong. She started a prayer list for cancer patients—that now includes those with other illnesses–and every other week Jeanneane sends a message to her prayer warriors with two or three specific names and conditions for each of us to keep in prayer daily. She is writing a devotional book by the same name.
I think this is what inspires me the most—her constant devotion to others even as she fights a battle that would knock most of us out. Please do visit her website at www. jeanneanemaxon.com and say a prayer for this courageous and faithful woman.