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Katie’s Story

Prayers are being answered! Above all...continue to pray!Catherine (Katie) Hawley is a happy, outgoing, athletic and very spiritual 9 year old girl. She has always been able to comfortably walk into a room of strangers and ask the first person she sees if they would like to play. At a very young age she led our family in prayer at the dinner table.

At age 4 she started playing AYSO soccer with me (her dad) coaching her. Coaching my daughters was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had as a father. Katie excelled, so at age 6 we decided to enroll her in a competitive club soccer program with the Southern California Blues.

In Jan/Feb of 09 during the Blues run for the California State Championship, we noticed a slight difference in her energy level but dismissed it as her just needing a break for a few weeks. During that time I also noticed her struggling to keep her feet under her. She appeared to labor to get up to speed and she seemed to have lost some of her quickness. Again, I dismissed it due to her recent growth spurt.

In the spring of 09 her club team took a much needed 2+ month break after they lost in the GU9 State Championship game. In this "off-season" period for the Blues, she continued to play soccer for the Ladera Ranch AYSO GU10 Plus team. That team won the championship for south Orange County and the end of season Area Tournament. At the same time, Katie worked out at an indoor conditioning facility.

During the early summer months her club team played in several soccer tournaments. Before the first Surf Cup tournament game on Saturday morning July 25th Katie threw up. About 2 days prior, Katie had complained about some minor but persistent abdomen pain. We thought she might have the flu, but she felt better after throwing up so we let her play. She was just not herself. She sat out during the 2nd game Saturday afternoon only to wake up on Sunday morning feeling better and wanting to play again.

Then the following Monday, July 27th, I decided to take her in to the local Urgent Care facility to get examined. Thank God for the perceptive Physicians Assistant that saw Katie named Michelle B. She just didn't think things seemed right and ordered an abdominal x-ray and ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a "mass" near Katie's stomach area so a CT scan was ordered for the next day. The result was further confirmation of the existence of the tumor.

This was the most shocking and devastating news MaryKay and I had ever heard. We cried during and in between making the calls to our family to tell them. At this point we did not know if the tumor was cancerous.

Another parent on Katie's soccer team had connections into the medical community.  That parent's name is Curt Wasserman and I will forever be in debt to him. Through his actions, and those of our new friend Len Shulman, we were immediately connected to Dr. Cairo in NY. Dr. Cairo is a world renowned leader in Oncology. He was on a speaking engagement in
Texas but offered his contact information to us, perfect strangers to him, so he could assist. He guided us to Dr. Marcio at CHLA, who is also a widely recognized "world expert" in Pediatric solid tumors. Dr. Marcio agreed to see Katie the next day, Friday, July 31st. That day, we were introduced to Dr. Stein, the leading pediatric surgeon at CHLA.

On August 5th, 2009, she underwent surgery to remove the tumor that was causing her abdominal pain. During surgery, it was determined that the tumor was malignant. Katie was diagnosed with Stage 3, High Risk, GanglioNeuroblastoma, nodular cancer. The egg-sized tumor growing from her right adrenal gland and the adrenal gland itself were removed as were 2 of Katie's lymph nodes. Cancer remained in her abdomen and she began chemotherapy treatments at CHLA on August 11th under the care of Dr. Araz Marachelian who we have the utmost confidence in.

In all, Katie has had 4 surgeries, 6 cycles of Chemotherapy, Stem Cell Chemotherapy, 12 rounds of Radiation, 5 rounds of ch14.18 and high doses of Accutane. She was declared N.E.D. (no evidence of disease) in December of 2009 and remains that way today.

Life has dealt us this unexpected and incredible challenge.  With your prayers, and God's Good Grace, we will continue to overcome this.  Please keep Katie in your prayers.

Latest Journal Update

Catching our breath

Good morning,
We met with Dr. Araz yesterday afternoon.  Araz said she still believes Katie is cancer free. Katie teared up and said, "I thought you were going to tell me it's back." I will never know how hard this journey is on Katie or how much she thinks about her health? It broke my heart to see her cry on and off during our meeting.
What's next?? Good question. None of us are in agreement... except for giving Katie the Holidays off to think about it.
These were Doctor Araz's suggestions: ... and our opinions.
Bob wants Katie to do the 1418 again. This is an antibody that helps (clean up) any non detected remaining neuroblastoma. It has the least long terms side effects. However, if you remember Katie went through this when she was 10. She would have to stay in the hospital, one week a month. The treatment is extremely painful, so she would be on a continuous morphine drip, which last time caused a rash and swelling. They gave her benadryl to help with that. The combination of all these meds, caused Katie's esophagus to close up, so they pushed an epi into her chest... making Katie feel like she was dying. This resulted in over 48 hours of hallucinating.. the spiders on her skirt, worms crawling out of her fingers, creatures coming out of the ceiling... Yea - NO, I don't want to put her through this!! Katie is terrified of this treatment... but it's on the table for discussion.
Katie said she would do the chemo/accutane combo again. She matter of factually stated, "I know it causes depression, makes me feel like I have the stomach flu two weeks a month, but I have nothing to lose now." Tears again streaming down her face. I guess she would prefer this to the spiders??
My gut, which holds a little weight with Bob or Dr. Araz, but does with Katie... is to do NOTHING! Believe she was healed. Which she WAS!! ... and go green. Keep clean eating, get her back in counseling, continue to mentor her in prayer and meditation, exercise ect. We would still scan every few months, But allow her body to rid the toxins for a few months.
A fourth option is to return to New York, to start their antibody the 3F8, which is less painful. Even though Katie has lost all trust in those doctors and said, "what if they are lying? and it is actually painful?" 
Bob and I have a ton of homework to do. I will be calling St. Judes, for when I brought that up, I felt dismissed a little?? 
Please keep us in prayer, these decisions seem to get harder and harder as time goes on... and now that Katie is older, we do value her input. We all need to be in agreement??
Praying for all of you to have a very blessed Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas.
I'll update in a couple of weeks.
Trusting in my Lord and Savior Jesus!
Luke 2:11

10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;11for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12"This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."…
Oh, I don't think I ever shared with all of you.. on a lighter side, while in New York Katie got to meet and hang out with Ansel Elgort. He was in the movie The Fault in Our Stars. It is an amazing movie about teenagers battling cancer. I would recommend you all to buy it... watch it. He was an amazing 'idol' to her, very kind and attentive! Support this young actor. For these kind of celebrities are far and few between!! When he heard the news that Katie's cancer had returned he had his mother contact us and he got Katie, my sister and myself tickets to a Broadway play, house seats AND arranged for us to meet the cast of WICKED!! Katie is now facebook friends with one of the gals from the play and instragram friends with the Teen Vogue gal that she met at Ansel's photo shoot!! Just so wonderful to know that there are such amazing people out there... like ALL of you too!! 


21 people hearted this



Eileen Gibson
By Eileen
Praying for Gods wisdom and direction with this!!! Have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas!!
1 person hearted this
Michelle Rhodes
I'm liking your idea of "going green" - cleansing and purifying those toxins out of Katies body. So much evidence shows that without underlying toxicity, disease cannot flourish.

Regardless, this brave girl deserves a break, a "chemical-free" Christmas...a time of normality as it can best be found, I think. God bless you both and may you have peace and joy in 2014 and into 2015!! :-)

The Lord
2 people hearted this
michelle lacy
By michelle lacy
My Gut says St. Jude's!!!! Please check our there NB treatments, I saw what they can do last week on The Today Show with Marlo Thomas and 2 of the doctors from St. Jude, they also have an injection for NB, please please call them!!! They said this injection shows great promise for a cure!!!! BIG BIG HUGS, Shelly Belly
1 person hearted this
Jackie LaCasse
By Jackie LaCasse🙏💞
I'm with you MK,We asked Jesus for healing believing he keeps his promises .Katie is cancer free now and forever stay strong in his promises. We love you all have a wonderful happy Christmas
1 person hearted this
Richard Janics
By Richard Janics
GO WITH YOUR GUT!!!! And watch the 45 hours of interviews with integrated doctors and professionals, which I sent Bob the "GIFT" link to, outlining non-toxic everyday protocols you can do to keep cancer at bay...

.....having depression and the stomach flu IS something to lose.

4 people hearted this
Liza LaCasse
By Liza
<3 Merry & Blessed Christmas!! <3
3 people hearted this
Marian Moffett
By Marian Moffett
I have read Katie's caringbridge for years. Her first cancer journey was not exact timing but within 6 months of my son's NB. My son, Tyler Moffett, was 14 1/2 at dx on May 1st '09. Bob and I have communicated over the years.

Teenagers are a rare and unique population in this world. I can only imagine how different the 4 years has made for Katie emotionally in treatment. My heart is always filled with compassion, hope and prayers for Katie and your entire family. We live in Napa Valley and Tyler is in his third year at U of Oregon. He is leaving for S. Africa for 3 months to do a business internship on January 7th. He has not relapsed and he does have a bit of hearing loss and battles being able to gain weight. However, neither of these side effects are major and he is confident, loving and no one would ever know he faced cancer unless he were to show off his scar or reveal his story. I tell you all of this to propel you towards Hope and to continue to have Faith that this will all be in Katie's rear view mirror. She has 70 plus more years of living life filled with good health and laughter.
sending you fight, love, laughter, prayers and hope,
Marian and Tyler Moffett
5 people hearted this
Gail Doyle
By Gail Doyle
Praying for Katie and you all to be guided to right decisions.So much to go through.
Glad Katie gets to rest and hang out. Wishing you all a Blessed ,Merry Christmas and
a Happy,Healthy New Year.. GOD bless
2 people hearted this
jill young
By jill young
Praying for you all as always. It is so hard to know which path to take. I am praying for ABUNDANT CLARITY in the right choice for Katie. Let the LORD lead, our emotions always get in the way :)
4 people hearted this
samantha rodriguez
By Samantha
FOREVER in our prayers🙏
All of our love & support❤️
The Rodriguez family
3 people hearted this