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'I'm going to beat this': Expectant ND mother remains optimistic after cancer diagnosis

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HUNTER N.D.—At six months pregnant with a cancer diagnosis to boot, expectant mother Merideth Sorensen is hoping for the best.

Sorensen, 35, of Gardner, N.D., now has a legion of supporters behind her every step of the way. The majority, of which, come from her place of work.

The playground at Little Steps Learning Center in Hunter almost has it all. It has swings and slides, but for the last few months, it's been missing one thing.

"It just gives me shivers now. It was very devastating," said Shari Viken, of Little Steps Learning Center.

Since April, Little Steps has been missing Sorensen.

"She's very cheerful, optimistic, and always has a smile on her face when she comes to work," Viken said.

Which is why a surprise visit from the expectant mother led dozens of playing children to mob her. Sorensen is six months along in her pregnancy—a big milestone.

"It's been quite a life-changer," said Sorensen.

Shortly after taking time off work to focus on her pregnancy, the 35 year old, bursting with life, found out she's fighting for her own. "It's been hard," she explained through tears.

When something didn't feel right in April, Sorensen says she went to the doctor. A 40-minute procedure turned into a four-hour visit. Her diagnosis: Lymphoma.

"I had surgery first, they found a softball-sized tumor in my small intestine, and removed about 90 percent of it (the tumor)," explained Sorensen.

Since then, it's been a lot of rest, chemotherapy and some terrifying questions.

"I was just shocked. Why is this happening. How is my baby going to make it through this?" Sorensen said.

But she's not in this alone. Dozens of kids clad bright-green and pink shirts in support of the beloved daycare worker. Everyone at Little Steps is hopeful for the best.

"I can't wait for her to be coming back, because everybody misses her," said Viken.

Sure, the swings and slides are nice, but Sorensen is determined to make sure Little Steps once again has it all.

"I want to come back to work," Sorensen said. "We're going to have a healthy baby, and I'm going to beat this."