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

Nothing but PRAISE

Katie is doing GREAT!! 
This post is just a thank you post. So please feel free not to read - I have a feeling it's going to be kind of long. :0

2 Corinthians 10:17 Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord
I want to take a few minutes to boast in the Lord and ALL the answer prayers He has faithfully brought forth. 
Thank you first for ALL the years of lifting Katie and my family's name before the Lord. At four am I woke up and thought how this journey would have been impossible without Jesus and without your thousands of prayers. Many times I have pleaded to you for help and this morning I want to recap how He has answered YOU. So thank you again for your commitment and faithfulness to my daughter.
It has been a little over six years ago I came to you with the news of Katie's diagnosis. Prayer answered - she is STILL with us! 
Mentally how chemo affects the brain. This is a particle article from the American Cancer Society.  
What is chemo brain?

Here are just a few examples of what patients call chemo brain:

  • Forgetting things that they usually have no trouble recalling (memory lapses)
  • Trouble concentrating (they can’t focus on what they’re doing, have a short attention span, may “space out”)
  • Trouble remembering details like names, dates, and sometimes larger events
  • Trouble multi-tasking, like answering the phone while cooking, without losing track of one task (they are less able to do more than one thing at a time)
  • Taking longer to finish things (disorganized, slower thinking and processing)
  • Trouble remembering common words (unable to find the right words to finish a sentence)
Answer to prayer, here are Katie's grades. We did give her an easier schedule this year, because we knew she would be missing 6 to 8 weeks during the year, but she is doing AMAZING!!
Biology (P) A-92.84% 
College&Career A+100%
Algebra I (P ) A97.59%
Draw/Paint Pro, Adv & Sp. Projects Fall A+100%
 Volleybl -G A+100%
English I Fall A-91.61%

Physically ~ Chemo can cause neuropathy.  Peripheral neuropathy, a result of nerve damage, often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet,
As you know Katie LOVES sports and though for the first time since she was SIX she did not make a club team this year (praying for God's direction), she did make her freshman A volleyball team. Katie complains from time to time of joint pain in both her feet and hands, but answer to prayer.... she has been able to continue  competing, which is her passion!! Thank you Lord, thank you prayer warriors!!
Emotionally, the BIGGEST side effects of accutane is depression. High school has NOT started on a high. Katie is trying to find her place and it has been an emotion roller coaster of tears for the first few weeks. But these past few days I have seen a break through. Her joy is returning, despite the situation has not changed. Answer to prayer, I see her sparkle and confidence returning! Thank you!! Praying for friends that will come along side and accept her for who she is... flaws and all. Because we ALL have them. 
Spiritual. I had mentioned a conversation Katie and I had a few weeks ago. In tears, with a heavy heart she confessed she has a hard time trusting God, because she had prayed years ago and thought she had her the Lord say the cancer would not return and it did. She didn't doubt the existence of Jesus, just that He had her back and that she could hear His voice. 
Answer to prayer. I will try to shorted this story, but it's cute how your prayers were answered. Katie's favorite lunch place is Souplantation.  I didn't want to pay the 11.00 dollars for lunch and had Katie grab me a baked potato. She was hesitant, but I justified it away... The very next day Katie was reading her bible and came down stairs with a bounce and a smile on her face and said, "Guess what I JUST read?, If you don't pay, you shouldn't eat"  We both laughed and she said she is NEVER letting me take a bake potato again. I know that sounds little and silly, but I told her that WAS God speaking to her... and she agreed.
YOUR prayers are being answered in BIG ways and little ways!! All glory be to Him.
Lastly, I don't post much on Katie's older sister Melanie, out of respect for her. She is VERY private. But those quiet prayers you have sent to heavens for her are also being answered. For over a year, after Katie was re-diagnosed, she fell into a deep depression, pulled away from friends, quit cheer, stopped going to church... Answer to prayer, she went to church with me last Sunday and told me the days she doesn't work, she would return to her youth group. Melanie is excited about applying to college and her joy to is returning.
P. raise
R. epent
A. sk
Y. eild
Today will be a day of PRAISE!!
Psalm 105:5
Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

Psalm 143:5
I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.

Jonah 2:7
"When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
Thank you!! With tears on my face and joy in my heart... thank you!!

19 people hearted this



Joan Capps
By Cousin Joan
You are precious in His sight....that means the whole family, Mary Kay, Bob, Melanie and Katie. We (my bible study group) continue prayers and praise with you. Love you dearly. Keep your chin up, He carries you when you do not have the strength. Keep Leaning on Him.
Love, hugs and kisses to each of you.
Cousin Joan in Idaho.
1 person hearted this
Paula E George
By Paula, #1 Lakers Fan!! — last edited
Good for you and Katie, Mary Kay!! Remember, beginning high school can be rough on ANY teenager, much less one faced with the challenges that Kit-Kat has, so just keep hugging her and this too shall eventually pass!! Good for Melanie!! I worry that with all the attention on Katie, that Melanie may feel "invisible" or neglected sometimes. Hold tight to her also, and let her know that many of us also pray for her, and wish her much happiness and success in her life, and that it is ALRIGHT for Melanie to feel joy!! Let any guilt go!! Continued prayers for your family, as I also pray for my BFF's fiance' as he battles angiosarcoma!! God is GOOOD!!!
1 person hearted this
Gail Doyle
By Gail Doyle
Praying for Katie to feel better and better Wonderful update and hope all continues to go well
Love Gail God is Good!
1 person hearted this
Janice Spillan
By Janice Donohue Spillan
I clung to every word, Mary Kay, and felt the love and gratitude and the power of prayer. Thank you and thank God. Continued blessings to you and your family. XO
1 person hearted this
samantha rodriguez
By Samantha
1 person hearted this
Joyce Lingren
By Joyce Lingren
Praise God! His mercies are new every morning.
1 person hearted this
michelle lacy
By michelle lacy
Loved you're update Mkay - when are you leaving for NYC?? Curt and I our sending BIG BIG Hugs to Katie and Mel Mel - Love them both so much!!!! Thanks God for hearing all our prayers!!! I never stop praying!!

1 person hearted this
Kim Sprague
By Kim Sprague
Wonderful report....we continue to pray!!
1 person hearted this