"There is no greater love than a mother who would give up her life for her child."
A New York woman died last month while giving birth to her first child, a baby daughter. Samantha Dannecker, 28, passed away "unexpectedly" on March 25 at Richmond University Medical Center, according to her memorial and a GoFundMe page started to support her husband Nicholas, and their daughter Lyla Grace, per PEOPLE.
"Those who knew Samantha had no doubt that she would be the best mother — she had the sweetest, kindest, gentlest soul and was born to be a mommy," read a message on the fundraising page, organized by Samantha's sister-in-law Vanessa Dannecker. "We can't even begin to put into words the gravity of this loss and what our families are feeling right now, especially her husband Nicholas and newborn daughter Lyla who was never able to meet her mother," continued the message, which did not include additional details about Samantha's death.
Vanessa said the family is "beyond devastated over the loss of our Samantha" in a statement. "Lyla will always know how much her mommy loved her," she added. "There is no greater love than a mother who would give up her life for her child." As for the newborn, "She is a fighter just like her mama," Vanessa said.
"Baby Lyla is continuing to make great progress," she added. "She had her CPAP machine and IV removed. Now we are focusing on getting Lyla to eat on her own so that they can remove her feeding tube. We can't wait to welcome her home."
"We still have a few other things to focus on before she gets to come home but we are fighting it out!" Nicholas wrote. "Thank you to all that have donated, shared, or prayed for our family!"
Those who knew Samantha described her as a treasured family member "and a friend to so many," per her obituary. "She has taught us all how to love in the strongest of ways, to be the most thoughtful person in the room, [and] to always smile the biggest," reads a message on her obituary. "She will be truly missed beyond words."
Samantha "spent many hours volunteering her time for the 'Have A Heart Foundation' of Staten Island, a foundation that meant the world to her and her family" in addition to working at a Pre-K center in Richmond. The outreach group, which helps people of Staten Island who live with heart disease, wrote in a tribute on Facebook that their hearts "are completely broken." The foundation wrote, "We are holding the Conti and Dannecker families in our hearts," adding that Samantha was a member of their board.
"In this time of complete and utter darkness we pray that the sun will one day shine in our lives again," Vanessa wrote on the GoFundMe page, which has raised over $119,000 as of April 6. "We love you so much Samantha," the message continued. "You will live in her heart and in our hearts forever."
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe