Breast milk is a precious gift for new mom diagnosed with breast cancer

Bay Area moms are rallying around a St. Petersburg, Florida woman who is battling cancer and can't breastfeed her baby.

Jessica Purcell posted a plea on Facebook, asking for breast milk donations, getting the attention and support of thousands online.

"There are good people out there, and I'm amazed at the Mamas reaching out," Purcell told FOX 13 News.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer during her ninth month of pregnancy. Despite the odds, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy five weeks ago.

"I'm still mind blown that it was possible," said Purcell who underwent 12 rounds of chemo during her pregnancy.

Because her treatment is still ongoing, Purcell can't breastfeed her son. She's tried getting donations non-profit milk banks but doesn't qualify.

The only accredited milk bank in Florida, Mothers' Milk Bank of Florida, said it prioritizes sick or premature babies over healthy babies that can survive on formula. At the current rate, there aren't enough donors, according to the organization.

Purcell wants to jump-start her son's immune system and believes breast milk is key. She's received offers from women all over the country, and although she is extremely appreciative, she is focusing on moms who live in her area.

"So I would be able to meet them personally or at least have a close friend of mine vouch for them," she said.

So far, Purcell has received dozens of milk pouches and based on the responses on social media, believes she'll get many more.

"I'm forever appreciative," she said.