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Supreme Court Rules Against Mom With Cancer in Custody Battle

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In May, we wrote about a heartbreaking custody dispute, where mom Alaina Giordano faced losing her children because she has Stage 4 breast cancer. Now TIME reports that the North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled against her. This Wednesday, her two children, ages 6 and 11, will leave her home in Durham, NC, to live with their father and Giordano’s ex-husband in Chicago.

Plus: What to Say to a Mom Battling Cancer

Giordano, 37, hopes to appeal the judge’s decision, but her chances seem slim since it’s unlikely a court would want to move the children twice. Her battle has been a tough one, with mutual allegations of cheating, domestic violence, bad parenting and jail time for both Giordano and her ex after a particularly heated argument. The court has also questioned whether her illness and work status (she’s currently unemployed; her ex-husband works for Sears) makes her fit to be a parent. Her doctors don’t think there’s any reason she can’t be a good mother through her illness and that there’s a chance her cancer won’t progress. Giordano, for her part, says she’s still able to do the day-to-day mom stuff she’s always done.

While Giordano plans to visit her children often after they make the 800-mile move, she can’t herself move to be closer to them. The North Carolina mom has been chosen for a Duke University clinical trial, meaning she has to live nearby participate. “I'm forced to make a decision between seeing my kids every day and not living as long to be their mom,” she says.

Plus: Why Exercise Can Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Do you think the North Carolina Supreme Court make the right decision? Is being seriously ill a good reason for a parent to lose custody?

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