CaringBridge Is Funded By People Like You

Make a Donation to CaringBridge

Honor Katie with a tax-deductible contribution to CaringBridge today. Click here to make your donation.

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

For His Glory

It's almost 3:30 am.
My day yesterday was full of prayer... tears, more prayers and more tears ~ which got me thinking.
Six and a half years ago, I sat in this very chair while my very sick Katie sat on the floor next to my feet. It feels like yesterday. She was so little and so scared. In her innocent faith, she said, "Why did this happen to me?  Did I do something wrong?... Is God mad at me? Could He heal me?"
Just like now, I took a deep breath, prayed for wisdom and shared these few words.
"Katie, we may never know why this happened to you? God is NOT mad at you? Yes, He could heal you with one word. Remember Jesus, He did nothing wrong, yet He suffered greatly on this earth, and because of what He did on the cross over 2000 years ago, we now can have a relationship with the living God. Let's use your suffering for God's glory!
What does that mean? bring God glory??... and have we been faithful to do just that? 
Despite our circumstances, despite the physical and emotional pain she has endured. God's truth remains the same!

Isaiah 40:7-8

 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
Despite my emotions, my highs and lows, my fear, my joy, my anger, my forgiveness. God's word NEVER changes.
Matthew 24:35

35"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

I hope over these past years... even though you have seen me hit the panic button on many occasions and have experienced on some small level how bi-polar and slightly crazy I can be, that you have seen the one constant... the LOVE and faithfulness of Jesus!
Jesus's character is the same today, tomorrow, as it was yesterday.Nothing can separate us from His love. 

Please take a few moments and read this. You may have read this verse a hundred times.. But today listen with your heart.
Romans 8:35-39
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 When you are in prayer, when you open your bibles and read.. open your hearts. Change is coming. Be prepared. 

Memorize Romans 8:35-39... no matter what troubles, or calamity, hunger or danger - NOTHING will be able to separate you from the LOVE of CHRIST!! NOTHING!!!

With a sincere and tearful heart. I hope Katie and our family have given our Savior Jesus glory through all of this. I hope and pray her illness has not been for not. That we have brought you hope, that we have brought you closer to the truth of the gospel. I hope we have served our purpose well. That someday we can stand before the King and not be ashamed. 

My mind is heavy and weighed down. i could use some prayer as well, that the above truth would bring Katie and my family peace.

Trusting without seeing! Hoping... surrendering to the truth.



Melanie is in college now up in Oregon. Continue to pray for her safety. Prayers to the community school 70 miles south that loss so many precious souls yesterday.

Someone used to send Melanie anonymous letters of encouragement. If you would like her address, please email me at 

15 people hearted this



Robert Saman
By Robert Saman
Yes --- your faith is inspiring. You may or may not know, but I have not been spending as much time going to church or reading the bible as I should or have in the past --- so your journal and Katie's journey helps keep me in touch with Jesus (feel free to share this with Katie). I read your journal religiously and do pray for you and your family.
1 person hearted this
jackie kalinski
Your faith is've been a good and faithful servant, Mary Kay. I will continue to pray for you and for your beautiful family! God bless you always!
1 person hearted this
Lisa Hulme
By Lisa Hulme — last edited
Sweet friend...".those who plunge deep into the Sea of Sorrow bring up the richest treasures" You are right in remembering yourself and reminding all of us that watch you that NOTHING will ever separate us from our Lord. He's got you; he's got sweet Katie. We are on this journey with him and this life is just a destination point...certainly not the end. He is near. Before you even know what to say or ask, He knows. Keep honoring Him with faith . You have been all along. It's so powerful towards us and so pleasing to God. Keep the definition of faith clearly in view. Your confidence is in Him...all of Him! All of His ways no matter how perplexing to us. I love you friend. I am in the front row cheering you on. You have been tested and proven to be strong.
1 person hearted this