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Hope Ann W. lost her battle against trisomy 18 [Edward’s syndrome] last week.

But she lived seven years and brought joy to everyone around her.

Doctors had urged Hope’s mother, Teri, to have an abortion after prenatal tests revealed her baby had a severely disabling genetic abnormality.

“They told me it would be the humane thing, that there was absolutely no hope,” she told the Billings Gazette.

“They were wrong. Had I listened to them, we wouldn’t have had seven years of pure joy.” Seven years of Hope, that is — and of hope.

“The life she had was beautiful,” said Kevin Sparrow. “There were some rough times for sure. She had to struggle. But she had a chance to live. She had a chance to live.”

Most babies born with the condition die within a few days, and fewer than 10 percent live for a year. Teri said she knows some people think the public money used for Hope’s care was wasted, but she disagrees.

“We pay our taxes. We pay into a system that should be there when somebody, especially a child, is in need,” she said.

“As a world power, don’t we have the responsibility to give our children a chance? Here we are the richest country in the world, and we say we can’t help a child live?”

[22Jan07,, Billings, MT]