A judge in North Carolina has ruled against a woman in the custody battle of her kids because she has breast cancer.
Three years ago, when Alaina Giordano was 33, she was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. Because of that, her two children, 11-year-old Sofia and 5-year-old Bud, have been ordered to move to Chicago with their father.
"The course of her disease is unknown. Children who have a parent with cancer need more contact with the non-ill parent," Judge Nancy Gordon wrote in her ruling.
In the midst of her health crisis, Giordano says the ruling causes additional emotional and financial strain.
"The judge knows that I don't have the means to be flying to Chicago to visit them, pay for a place to stay, or to fly them here on any sort of regular basis," said Giordano.
An online petition to North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue requesting she overturn the ruling has more than 7,000 signatures. A Facebook page dedicated to the same cause has more than 10,000 fans.
"I've never heard of a mother losing children because of poor health or being sick," said family law attorney Michael Cornacchia. "What the court has done is expanded the traditional understanding of what unfitness is."
Phone calls to Giordano's husband have not been returned. His attorney declined to comment, saying it would be "inappropriate."