They are fairly certain it's a girl. In a second-floor room at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, it is the 25th week, and counting.

Susan Torres, who was felled by a cancerous tumor in May, who is brain dead yet also pregnant, remains there hooked to a ventilator, machines and monitors, in the long shot hope that her body, now full of cancer, can sustain the fetus that continues to grow and kick inside of it.

Moving beyond the 24th week was crucial because that is the earliest doctors believe a fetus has a reasonable chance of surviving outside the womb.

"They're doing sonograms every two days now," said Justin Torres, Susan Torres's brother-in-law. "And the expectation is to go a while longer. . . . All the days from here on out are a gift."

Justin Torres said the family has raised about $400,000 to help with bills that insurance won't cover. His brother, Jason Torres, Susan's husband, has probably averted bankruptcy for now, Justin said. They have not begun to figure the potential cost of neonatal care.

People have sent checks through the family's Web site,, but they have also dropped vaguely addressed envelopes in the mail, like so many prayers they simply trusted would find their way.

A man from Belfast mailed an envelope to "St. Rita's Parish, Alexandria, U.S.A.," Jason Torres's parish. An airmail package with $100 in cash came from Japan. A U.S. soldier sent an envelope from Baghdad.

"No note or anything, just a check," said Justin Torres, who's taken over as family spokesman for a while. "It's just been amazing."

Over the past few weeks, the story has found its way to India, Japan and Australia, to church groups and convents and Elks clubs, and this month, Jason and Justin Torres sat under the hot lights of a television studio for "Larry King Live."

"Jason," King said in his friendly, if punchy, manner, "are you a believer?"

"Absolutely, absolutely," Jason Torres told more than a million viewers.

"When [the cancer] fully set in that day, did she just sort of sleep?" King asked.

"Yes," Torres said, exhausted, explaining once again how his wife essentially died before his eyes. "Her head fell to her chest."

Before the program finished, he made his exit, deciding to retreat from the world for a while.

As he has from the beginning, Jason Torres has been sleeping most nights by his wife's side. "As you move closer, it's sad, and hopeful," his brother said.

Susan Torres's cancer, melanoma, has spread from her brain to her lymph nodes and her lungs and has now reached most of her vital organs, which are functioning but will eventually fail. Her blood pressure remains stable; infections have been avoided.

Tests cannot be certain, but there is no sign the cancer has reached the placenta, which it can penetrate. Reports have shown that even when the cancer reaches the placenta, it is rare that it affects the fetus, but if it does, the child usually dies soon after birth.

A resolution could be moments or days or weeks away, although recently, the room adjacent to Susan's was cleared and prepared for surgery. Justin Torres said his brother goes to St. Rita's for Mass every Sunday and other times, too, to pray.