A mother gives the gift of life to her baby, before dying from cancer

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CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI) - With the snap of a camera photographer Emily Lucarz captured the special moments of Cara Combs and her family at her studio last Thursday in Chesterfield.

Combs, a pregnant 38-year-old wife and mother of 3 thought the photos were especially important. That`s because she was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma in the first week of November. The news came 23 weeks into her pregnancy.

Cara refused treatment until she reached 28 weeks to give her baby the best chance of survival. On Saturday she went into labor and baby Shaylin Renee was born, her weight was just over 2 pounds and photographer Lucarz was there to capture the delivery on camera.

'It`s heartbreaking for me because Cara put her baby before her own life and it was amazing.' Said Lucarz

Then tragedy struck, by Tuesday morning Cara was gone. Family members say Cara`s husband Roy and her children are devastated. Complications from the cancer that spread to her liver and the delivery made it impossible for her to recover. She was also just days away from starting a clinical trial in Texas. Relative Andrea Dean says the days have been tough.

'The NICU brought Shaylin to her and she got to hold the baby we got pictures of her holding the baby things like that.' Said Dean

Cara`s mother in law Barbara Combs says a gofundme page was started to help the family with expenses. Its grown dramatically as thousands are sharing Cara`s touching story online.

'The comments on that go fund me page are nothing but love and that is so encouraging.' Said Combs

Now the family is left to grieve and remember a special woman who left a very special gift. Lucarz is also planning to document the family until little baby Shaylin leaves the hospital