Mom, 88, goes viral on TikTok for traveling 300 miles to see daughter after cancer diagnosis

The viral moment, which was captioned, ‘Motherhood is so powerful,’ was viewed by millions on TikTok

A mother and daughter have touched millions of hearts on TikTok after one immediately made the trip to see the other who just received a cancer diagnosis.

Maria Karpinska, 88, traveled over six hours to see her daughter, Elizabeth Pawlak, 64, who had recently learned she had stomach cancer. 

The moment when Karpinska walked through the hospital room door was captured on video by her granddaughter, Estera Pawlak (daughter of Elizabeth Pawlak).

Elizabeth Pawlak was first diagnosed in early January, but the news was initially kept from Karpinska so she wouldn’t worry, Estera Pawlak told Fox News Digital.

She needed surgery to remove the cancer, but her blood levels were too low, and as a Jehovah’s Witness, she was unable to accept a blood transfusion, Estera Pawlak said of her mother.

For over 10 weeks Elizabeth Pawlak, she was moving to different hospitals hoping to find a doctor who would take on her case and develop a proper course of treatment. Soon after, her diagnosis was taking a turn for the worse, and were told she only had “days to live.”

Due to her health status, on April 10, Estera Pawlak and her siblings, Luke and Emily, who all live in Scotland, made their way to Poland to see their mother.

“My auntie burst out crying in front of my grandma,” Estera Pawlak shared.

While most of the family knew about Elizabeth Pawlak’s diagnosis, her own mother, Karpinska, was still in the dark.

“As soon as she found out, she was like, ‘I need to go and see her,’” Estera Pawlak shared of what her grandmother, Karpinska, said.


Karpinska traveled over six hours with the intention of surprising Elizabeth Pawlak at the hospital.

“You just never, ever stop being a mom. You just always want to look after your kids.”— Estera Pawlak

“My mom was still quite drowsy, but she hugged [my grandmother] and said, ‘I was not expecting you,’” Estera Pawlak recalled.

TikTok users appeared to be moved by the video showing mother and daughter embracing.

“Motherhood is seriously the most beautiful and pure thing in the world,” one user commented.

“So sweet. Our babies will always be our babies,” another added.

“That is sooo precious, we always need our mommy no matter how old we are,” another shared.

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